Is Alcohol Essential During a Pandemic?


April is alcohol awareness month. But this year, April is unlike any April we have ever experienced. COVID-19 has turned our world upside-down. Businesses are closed, people have been mandated to work from home, and kids are home from school.  Have you noticed that in many places liquor stores are considered essential businesses? Why is that? What, if anything, does that say?  We all need food, water and yes, toilet paper…but alcohol?

Alcohol as an Essential Business is About Safety 

Alcohol is engrained in most of our activities from celebrations to funerals. It is hard to imagine a wedding without champagne toasts. But for some people alcohol really is essential. If you are physically dependent on alcohol then not drinking could be dangerous, if not fatal.  
Possible signs of alcohol dependence include the following:

  • Increase in blood pressure and heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Shakiness or tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Headache 
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations 
  • Delirium Tremens (DTs)

If you experience some of the symptoms listed above when you miss a few hours or days of drinking, you very well may be physically dependent on alcohol. Please take this time to reflect on your physical and emotional connection to alcohol.

Individual and Societal Impact

Stopping abruptly is not safe. If liquor stores close and alcohol becomes limited, like we are seeing with toilet paper, then those who are dependent on alcohol could suffer from dangerous withdrawals. Withdrawing from alcohol dependence is serious enough during “normal times.” But during the COVID-19 pandemic this could create a domino effect, resulting in trips to the already overly crowded hospitals.  

The Coleman Method for alcohol detox is a proven, safe, outpatient way to medically detox from alcohol.  We could be the bridge from which you launch your recovery, supported with non-addictive medications to reduce cravings. Please call 888-736-1720 to learn more and decide whether this might be the right option for you. 

Deborah Reich, M.D.

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