Drinking and Driving on the Rise, Behavior Slow to Change

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and a time to stop and think about the impact alcohol has on daily life.

It’s no surprise people started drinking more at home during the pandemic. In April 2020, liquor stores reported an increase of 54% in alcohol sales. For the first time in many states, you could order alcohol to be delivered to your home, resulting in a 234% increase in online alcohol sales.1 Unfortunately, those habits harnessed at home are now becoming a part of regular routines that often revolve around driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 38,680 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020, the largest projected increase since 2007. The data reflects a 7% rise in overall traffic deaths in 2020 compared to 2019 and shows significant increases during the last half of 2020 compared to those same months in 2019.2

Another interesting element is people were not driving as much. Data from the Federal Highway Administration shows that miles traveled decreased nationwide. There were fewer cars on the road but more alcohol-related accidents.

The 2022 Alcohol Awareness campaign aims to reduce the social stigma associated with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and to educate people on how the disease can be addressed, offering help and advice for families as well as those struggling with addiction.

Signs of Alcohol Addiction to Look For

Recognizing the signs of an alcohol use disorder can help you determine if it’s time to seek help. Some of the signs may include:3

  • Spending a lot of time drinking or recovering from the effects of alcohol.
  • Continuing to drink regardless of personal, work, or social problems being caused or worsened by the effects of alcohol.
  • Persistently expressing a desire to lessen or regulate the use of alcohol but being unable to do so.
  • Experiencing cravings or withdrawal symptoms when you don’t have alcohol.
  • Having to drink more to achieve the same effect
  • Prioritizing drinking over previously enjoyable or important activities.

It’s clear we are just starting to scratch the surface of the consequences stemming from the pandemic.

If you are beginning to recognize a pattern of problematic substance misuse in yourself, or a loved one, be sure to reach out for help. American Addiction Centers (AAC) not only treat alcohol addiction but co-occurring mental health disorders like anxiety and depression as well. If you are looking for alcohol or drug rehab in the Las Vegas area, there are treatment options available at our Desert Hope Facility.

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