With many families across the USA still in full isolation due to COVID-19 – people are turning to alcohol and drugs more than ever before and it is becoming a pandemic in its own right.
In the week ending March 21, 2020, as stay-at-home orders in the US began to take place, there was a reported increase of 54% in alcohol sales compared to the same week in 2019. Online sales jumped 262%.
Research also found that drug abuse rose, with a survey in June by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealing that 13.3% of respondents admitted to starting or increasing their substance abuse. National drug testing lab, Millennium Health, also found an increase of 20% for methamphetamine use, 12.5% for heroin use, and 10% for cocaine. Sadly, there was also an 18% increase in a suspected drug overdose.
It’s not just illegal drugs that are the problem either. In mid-2020, there were a reported 18 million people, or more than 6% of people aged over 12 years old, who have abused prescription medications.
Often, drug and alcohol abuse are caused by stress, depression and anxiety, trouble with relationships, and family history. If you’re concerned about a loved one, or perhaps yourself, there are some signs of abuse you can watch for – with the aim of taking control and changing habits before they become dangerous.
How To Recognize The Signs
While drinking casually with friends isn’t usually a problem, if you’re drinking more than you should, or more often, it could be that you’re feeding an addiction. When the alcohol starts to interfere with your everyday life, it’s time to refresh. Here are some of the signs you should look for, in yourself or those you care about:
- Having an urge to use the drug or drink daily, or more than once a day
- Always having the drug or alcohol nearby
- Using while at work
- Spending more time on your own
- Not caring how you look
- Stealing or lying
- Unable to manage stress without alcohol or drugs
- Binge drinking often – more than 5 drinks in a single occasion, weekly or daily
- Dangerous behavior, such as driving while drunk or high
- Feeling sick when you stop drinking or drugs
If you do have concerns, it’s essential that you get help as soon as possible. Unfortunately, addiction isn’t like having a cold – it won’t just disappear. There’s no cure, but you can treat it to prevent it from taking over in the future. Get in touch today if you’d like to make an appointment to discuss your concerns.