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Parents, Alcohol Use, and the Pandemic

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March 12, 2021

We may never know for years to come the lasting impact that COVID will have on all of us. Whether it’s impacted our mental health or drug and/or alcohol use, parents in quarantine with their children have had a different experience during the pandemic than others have.

Not only have parents been tasked with the usual responsibilities of keeping a roof over the family, food on the table, and maintaining a steady stream of income from their job, but they now have the added pressure of scheduling and executing their kids’ schooling. Not to mention protecting the family members and themselves from catching the contagious virus.

Many parents have turned to numbing their anxiety with their favorite alcohol of choice. And although this doesn’t necessarily mean that they have an alcohol use disorder or an addiction to alcohol, it may indicate that their stress and anxiety is too much for them to handle.

At American Addiction Centers (AAC), a nationwide leader in addiction treatment, we provide supervised medical detox and residential and outpatient treatment, as well as aftercare planning all within in a safe environment. If you’re struggling with an alcohol use disorder, please reach out to get the help you need.

 

Facing the Pandemic and Drinking Alcohol

As of August 2020—six months into the pandemic, the majority (60%) of the parents who had children within the age range of 5-17 thought that it was better to delay opening schools in order to decrease COVID transmission risk, while 34% of parents of kids in this age group thought that opening  schools sooner would be the best solution.

Now that we are a year into the pandemic, have these numbers shifted at all? It will be interesting to see the studies that come out towards the end of 2021 and in 2022.

The Research Triangle Institute International conducted a survey, and out of 993 individuals polled in May of 2020, 27% of them increased the number of drinks they had per day and the poll reflected that even binge drinking increased at a rate of 26%.

Again, now that it has been a year into a new way of living and being with our families and communities, how have these numbers shifted? Are parents becoming addicted to alcohol innocently and unknowingly as they attempt to numb their anxiety and stress?

 

Solutions to Being a Parent During COVID

According to a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article published in January of 2021, they provide steps that parents can take while being tasked with the additional responsibilities and pressures.

Possible solutions:

  • Identify your values. They suggest that parents should identify their values. In other words, they should focus on what is important to them now. What may have been significant prior to the pandemic was based on a whole set of other circumstances. HBR interviewed hundreds of parents, asking this question, and the overriding responses consisted of compassion, presence, and resilience.
  • Talk with people who matter the most. Open up and have dialogue with the people in your life who you care about. Listen to their needs and be open to sharing with them what it is that you need.
  • Try a new way. The pandemic has given us an opportunity to do things differently and to even see ourselves differently. Be open to doing new things and listening to different perspectives.
  • Take the four-way view. Look at the four main areas of your life: community, home/ family, your career/job, and your private self. Look for opportunities to balance the amount of attention that you’re giving to each area. It’s easier said than done, but is possible by simply taking action and making an effort in each of those areas.

We are living in very different times. Between wearing masks, working from home, schooling from home, and continuing to social distance from others in different households, life is different for right now. Perhaps we can return to what we remember as normal. Or perhaps we’ll all embrace a new layer of normalcy that’s been placed upon us by the dangerous virus.

Regardless of what you’re going through, if you are indeed struggling with an alcohol use disorder, don’t struggle alone. There are resources available to help you achieve long-term sobriety and to live a healthy and productive life. Please reach out to get the help that you need today.

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