You do not have to go far to see how coronavirus has impacted our daily lives. The UK has seen a rise in anxiety levels, as concerns about the future, and how the crisis may play out, preys on everybody’s minds.
A new report, compiled by the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) and the Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), has underlined the detrimental effect the pandemic has had on various aspects of society.
It has especially hit home how coronavirus has heightened those issues associated with alcohol harm. The study has shown how Covid-19 has added to a wide range of problems, from unemployment, deprivation, social isolation, and mental health concerns. which can cause some people to drink.
Reportedly, the study also says there is a good chance the UK will face an economic downturn and even greater austerity, because of coronavirus. The pandemic will probably lead to an upsurge in unemployment figures, as many jobs and businesses go under. The knock-on effect may be worse deprivation and a reduction in services, leading to more cases of alcohol harm.
The report also draws attention to how widespread the problem has become in men. Many almost see drinking as an aspect of their personality. They have been brought up to believe it is a part of growing up and being a man.
Men are often force-fed the macho image of being able to hold their drink. If wishing to be considered `one of the lads`, they must binge drink and not be a so-called `lightweight`. They feel a sense of peer pressure and fear of being mocked. This is partly why so many men are reluctant to talk about their problems, let alone ask for help.
It is estimated, in 2018, alcohol related deaths in Scotland more than doubled in men, compared to women, while hospital admissions were around two and a half times greater.
But, unfortunately, it is felt men are far less willing to discuss their physical or mental issues than women, with many fearing the current situation will only make matters worse.
All in all, it is believed many people in the UK will experience a rise in depressive illness during the pandemic. They may use drugs or alcohol to try and counteract their anxiety and depression. A situation which may deteriorate if the economy indeed takes a downturn, or the country faces a difficult recession and further austerity.
Experts are afraid it could hurt those already living in poverty, and more inclined to suffer the effects of alcohol harm the most.
Therefore, the study suggested various measures policymakers could adopt, to prevent the prevalence of alcohol harm, in the wake of coronavirus. Ranging from restricting booze being so readily available to banning alcohol advertising and sponsorship, amongst other possible solutions.
Whether you are a male or female, we are all living under the shadow of Covid-19, and many are looking for an escape in drugs or alcohol.
However, the report by IAS and SHAAP only sums up how talking about your problems, and finding the right treatment, can help you deal with the psychological impact of lockdown. This, in turn, can reduce the chances of alcohol-related harm. Putting you on course to decreasing your intake as we make it through this crisis.