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Alcohol Use During the Pandemic

Alcohol Use During the Pandemic

If you feel like you drink more than usual during the current pandemic, you aren’t alone. In previous pandemics like SARS and H1N1, many healthcare workers said that they drank more alcohol than usual during and after the pandemic.

Many people use alcohol to cope with difficult feelings like stress, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, and isolation. It’s a common response to trauma, grief, boredom or other difficult experiences. However, alcohol can cause problems when people drink too much or too often.

Here are some signs that you may need to think about making changes to the way you drink:

  • Drinking alcohol is the only way you manage stress, fear, uncertainty, and other uncomfortable feelings
  • You often drink more than you intend
  • Your relationships with family, friends, or coworkers are strained due to drinking
  • You have a hard time stopping once you’ve started drinking
  • You miss work or other obligations as a result of drinking
  • You find yourself in unsafe situations, like driving after drinking
  • You find yourself often drinking alone
  • You find you rely on drinking to feel relaxed or confident

Drinking more than usual right now doesn’t automatically mean that you have a drinking problem. It may be a sign that you need extra help and support right now, and there are people who can help you out:

  • Care to Speak: Confidential online peer support with healthcare workers who understand what you’re going through. Talk to someone today.
  • PHSA’s Mobile Response Team: 24/7 support for healthcare workers. Call 1-888-686-3022 or email MRT@phsa.ca.
  • Your Family/Employee Assistance Program: Contact your workplace F/EAP provider to see how they can help you.
  • Alcohol & Drug Information Referral Service: Free, confidential information and referrals to local service providers and support groups. Call 604-660-9382 in the Lower Mainland or 1-800-663-1441 toll-free.

 

For more on making healthier changes to your alcohol use, download the workbook You and Substance Use: Stuff to think about…and ways to make changes

Alcohol can cause problems when people drink too much or too often.

Leader

If Drinking Affects You at Work

If your alcohol use is a sign of a substance use disorder that you’re getting support for, it is like other chronic health conditions. Not all alcohol use qualifies as a disability.  In BC, employers can’t discriminate based on any disability, which includes a mental illness or substance use disorder. Your employer has to try to make reasonable changes to help you if you disclose or say that you have a disability, such as allow you to take time off for treatment. It is reasonable for safety reasons for an employer to prohibit intoxication at work. You have the right to privacy. If you belong to a union, they may have a disability management program or a staff member who can help you. Ask your steward if you need help contacting your union.

Cog

To Learn More

Learn about Alcohol: Factsheet from the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research

Web Resources

For more information, we have compiled a list of resources to help you cope up with anxiety during these difficult days.

6 Tips to Respond to Employee Anxiety About COVID-19

Meant for employers and managers, this webpage created by the Canadian Mental Health Association contains tips for responding to the feeling of anxiety staff may be having.

7 Science-based Strategies to Cope with Coronavirus Anxiety

In this article hosted on The Conversation, psychologist Jelena Kecmanovic provides science-based methods on dealing with anxiety caused by COVID-19.

How to Stay Psychologically Healthy During the Coronavirus Outbreak

This article by Psychology Today provides proven techniques for managing stress and anxiety over the COVID-19 outbreak.

Looking For More?

Free resources to help with your anxiety available from your phone

Suicide Prevention Line

Call 1-800-784-2433

If you are considering suicide or are concerned about someone who may be, call the Suicide Prevention line. Someone will be ready to listen and speak to you.

Call 1-800-784-2433 anytime.

Mindshift

Download for iOS or Android

This free app from Anxiety Canada helps users track anxiety daily. You will work through tools while applying Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approaches.

Download today for Apple or Android.

Text4Mood

Text Mood to 760-670-3130

If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, Text4Mood sends you a daily inspirational text message to support positive mental health.

To join, text Mood to 760-670-3130.