Parent Alert | September 2020
Covid-19 and Alcohol:

How much is too much?

 

Current Trends

Anxiety and worry about the pandemic have caused many people to turn to substances as coping mechanisms. PTSD-sufferers have increased substance use during Covid-19. Working from home and distancing policies create loneliness and depression for most of us.

This is nothing new—Higher substance use has correlated with large-scale crises in the past.

It’s more important than ever to be sure we’re using alcohol, tobacco, and other legal drugs safely and avoiding illegal use. For alcohol, the question to ask is: “Why am I drinking?” Research suggests that those who begin or increase alcohol use for emotional relief are more likely to develop a substance use disorder (SUD). This was also true of cannabis.

People with SUD are often more susceptible to Covid-19 and its symptoms. Additionally, those who initiated substance use during the pandemic are at a higher risk than those who were already using before.

The scientists who studied Covid-19 and substance use describe the necessity of prevention, especially now. 

It’s important to remember that scientific research develops over a long period of time. We need at least dozens of studies to account for all the variables on a particular topic. As results emerge, it may appear that experts are changing their minds or contradicting each other, but such is the nature of developing science.
Safe Alcohol Use

For any age group, past trauma (particularly in childhood), a family history of SUD, peer pressure, grief, and stress are all risk factors for developing SUD. For youth, a positive adult mentor is vital to preventing substance misuse.

Of those with SUD, 90% started using substances before they were 18. This staggering statistic emphasizes the importance of delaying first use until the brain is fully developed, which is typically early to mid-twenties.

This 3-minute video explains why preventing youth substance use
is important to their health and safety.
Myth-buster

Drinking coffee or taking a shower does not help you get sober more quickly. It may wake up your brain a little, but it won’t speed up the elimination process or lower your blood alcohol content (BAC).

Does this mean I shouldn’t drink?

Not necessarily. While abstinence is a surefire way to avoid SUD, there are ways to drink safely as an adult. The key is to slow down intake, which gives your body time to process the alcohol. 

The general rule is to drink no more than 1 standard drink an hour, although it varies depending on gender, weight, and other demographic factors. Lowering consumption rate gives your liver time to process and eliminate the alcohol, keeping your BAC low enough to be safe. 
Another way to slow down the process is to avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Eating and drinking water with your alcoholic beverage will slow the speed of consumption (i.e., if you’re taking bites between sips, you won’t drink as quickly).A final word: Drink with friends who will help you stay safe. It’s best if they discourage you from ordering another drink once you begin to display

early signs of intoxication; they can also make sure you get home safely. You can be that friend to them, too.We must learn about our family history of substance misuse. Genetics account for 50% of someone’s likelihood to develop SUD. If a family member had or has SUD, it is even more important to limit or avoid all substance use, including alcohol.

To see full graphic, click here

Courtesy of American Addiction Centers

Future technology

How great would it be to use an app to measure intoxication? There may be such an option in the future!

Check it out here.

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