The COVID-19 epidemic lockdowns have resulted in dramatic increases in alcohol use, with women being affected even more than men. Changes in Adult Alcohol Use and Consequences During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the US | Infectious Diseases | JAMA Network Open | JAMA Network

According to Dr. George Koob, the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA) at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH):

“The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every family across the country and will likely have a long-lasting impact on public health and well-being. More people may drink and people may drink more heavily to cope with stress, sleep disturbances, and even boredom increasing their risk for alcohol use disorder and other adverse consequences. Although alcohol temporarily dampens the brain and body’s response to stress, feelings of stress and anxiety not only return, but worsen, once the alcohol wears off. Over time, excessive alcohol consumption can cause adaptations in the brain that intensify the stress response. As a result, drinking alcohol to cope can make problems worse and one may end up drinking to fix the problem that alcohol caused. Physical distancing (which can lead to “social distancing”) during the pandemic also has profound implications for access to treatment services for those with alcohol problems.” Director’s Blog: Alcohol poses different challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) (nih.gov)

Dr, Koob then goes on to say:

“Social support is a very powerful reinforcer for humans and is highly beneficial for helping people avoid relapse or an escalation in alcohol use. Recovery programs based on mutual peer support, and many different behavioral therapies, involve social support and are very helpful for people struggling with maintaining sobriety or regulating their alcohol consumption.

This is type of Recovery program is exactly what we offer at First Step Recovery Center. Along with our comprehensive and accredited intensive outpatient treatment program, and traditional 12-Step fellowships, there are now many medication-assisted treatment options that First Step Recovery Center offers to its patients.

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