The Reasons to Reduce or Quit Alcohol During COVID-19 Isolation
There are several good reasons to reduce or quit alcohol use during COVID-19 isolation, including, better mental and physical health.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has already advised to avoid using alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with anxiety and stress of the current pandemic. Instead the WHO has recommended some healthy ways of coping, such as by reducing intake of information and frequently communicating with loved ones.
Alcohol has many health risks including cancer. According to Professor Tim Stockwell, former director of Australia’s National Drug Research Institute and now based at the University of Victoria in Canada, the consumption of alcohol exposes people to many of its toxic effects. This includes the carcinogenic effects of acetaldehyde (what alcohol first becomes during digestion). Acetaldehyde attacks the tissues it comes into contact with, which have to repair themselves each time. This increases risk of tumours developing.
Benefits of reducing/ quitting alcohol use
Professor Stockwell advises cutting down alcohol and having “off days” to give the body a change to recover. Reducing alcohol intake also improves sleep. Alcohol consumption before sleeping can harm the body’s restorative process.
Alcohol is known to be causing many mental health issues. Therefore, reducing or quitting alcohol use also has many benefits for mental health. These include:
- Increase energy levels,
- Better mood, and
- Decrease in stress and anxiety.
How to reduce/ quit alcohol use
- Be aware about consumption of alcohol use and start cutting down,
- Track progress such as through a diary,
- Participate in sober campaigns such as “Sober October” or “Dry January”,
- Switch to alcohol-free beverages,
- Explore alcohol-free spaces, online communities or events.
Get inspired by reading our blog article on living alcohol-free.
Virtual help to stay sober during the pandemic
Access the following tools compiled by The New York Times on support to stay sober during the current crisis.