3 Signs Your Drinking Got Out of Control During the Pandemic

3 Signs Your Drinking Got Out of Control During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a crisis within a crisis. 

Around the world, individuals of all ages have spent the last year struggling financially, socially, and mentally. The result of this extreme stress has driven many of us to find a crutch in the form of alcohol to cope. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of June 2020, 13% of Americans reported starting or increasing their substance use over the last year. 

In addition, a poll from the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) found that one-third of those surveyed who drink alcohol reported drinking more since the start of the pandemic. 

For some, the surge in drinking has become less of a pandemic crutch and more of an addiction that will continue even as the world opens up, and we regain some sense of normal — and this could make substance abuse the next great pandemic our country needs to face.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to diagnosing alcoholism, there are several signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for if you think your drinking, or the drinking of a friend or family member, has become out-of-control during the pandemic, including:

You’re Drinking On the Job

During the pandemic, 71% of workers surveyed by the Pew Research Center who said they could do their work from home began working from home all or most of the time, according to a December 2021 report. For some, this new way of working added to the already stressful situation especially as they fought to share office space with their spouse or e-learning space with their kids.

In response, some work-from-homers started drinking earlier and earlier during the day, sometimes even during office hours. A survey by Alcohol.org found that 1 in 3 Americans were more likely to drink during work hours while operating from home as compared to working in their typical workspace.

You’re Not Keeping Up with Responsibilities

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us were granted leeway for not getting out of our pajamas, skipping a shower (or two), or even feeling a bit distracted or behind during a Zoom meeting. 

If this pandemic lethargy is continuing, however, and waking up hungover because of a night of drinking is the culprit, it could be a sign that you have a drinking problem. 

Your Physical Appearance Has Changed

This goes well beyond slacking on our normal hygiene routines or business casual clothing options. Physical signs your drinking has become an issue — that even your coworkers will notice on video calls — including bags under your eyes a redder or whiter face coloration and dilated pupils.

This list is in no way comprehensive and represents just some of the signs that your drinking got out of control during the pandemic. This checklist from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism lists additional signs that your drink may have become a problem.

If you are concerned you are drinking too much and that your relationship with alcohol has become abusive, there are ways you can get help. Click here for more information.