Why alcohol is not a good coping strategy during COVID-19

by | Addictions, Coronavirus - COVID-19, Healthy Living, Mental Health

Have alcohol sales gone up?

Well, as most of you know, alcohol sales have gone through the roof during the COVID-19 period, and is this a good coping strategy or not?

Well, the evidence suggests that alcohol is really not an effective way to help during periods of high stress such as we’re experiencing at the moment.

What are the issues with alcohol?

The problem with alcohol is it interferes with your sleep. The more you drink, it disturbs your ability to fall asleep, and of course interferes with that very important part of sleep REM sleep.

Secondly, alcohol, although temporarily, might provide some relaxation or reduction of worry or concern, actually has a progressively negative effect. So, the short-term benefit is well exceeded by the long-term negative impact.

So, how does one use alcohol during these periods? Like at all times, sensibly. Drink within the recommended limits, make sure that you don’t drink to excess, and then you’ll get that happy balance between what is an acceptable amount of alcohol in your system without it disturbing your sleep, or increasing your anxiety.

Presented by Dr Matthew Cullen, Psychiatrist, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney