Alcohol use disorders are characterized by heavy alcohol use and loss of control over alcohol intake. Although they are among the most prevalent mental disorders globally, they are also among the most stigmatized. People with an alcohol use disorder are at greater risk of COVID-19 not only because of the impact of alcohol on their health but also because they are more likely to experience homelessness or incarceration than other members of the population. It is therefore essential, under the current conditions, that people who need help because of their alcohol use get all the support they need. If you, or a person close to you, have problems in relation to alcohol use, please consider the following:
The present situation is a unique opportunity to quit drinking, or at least to cut down considerably, as various social cues and peer pressure situations, such as parties, friends’ gatherings, restaurants, and clubs, are (by necessity) avoidable.
Online interventions for alcohol use disorders by professionals and mutual help groups can be less stigmatizing as they offer greater anonymity and privacy, so check out what help you can get online.
Create a buddy and self-support system with someone you trust and reach out for extra help if needed, such as online counseling, interventions, and support groups.
Practice physical distancing, but do not socially isolate: call, text and/or write to your friends, colleagues, neighbors, and relatives. Use new and creative ways of connecting to others without actual physical contact
Avoid alcohol cues and triggers on TV and media where there is pervasive marketing and promotion of alcohol; be careful to avoid links to social media that are sponsored by the alcohol industry.
Try to maintain your daily routine as much as you can, focus on things that you can control, and try to keep grounded – for instance, through a daily workout, hobbies, or mind relaxation techniques.
If you become infected, discuss with health personnel your alcohol consumption so that they can make the most appropriate decisions with respect to your overall health condition.
How to find reliable information and how to spot misinformation
Seek trusted sources of information, such as WHO, national health authorities, and your health professional. For updated information on COVID-19, check the WHO website.
Always double-check the information you receive. Beware of websites and texts that use the same messages and have the same writing and overall style, as these are likely to be viral messages produced for mass distribution that is intended to mislead.
Beware of false and misleading claims, particularly in relation to the effects of alcohol on health and immunity. Such claims should be categorically discounted as a source of health information as there is no evidence that drinking alcohol offers any
protection against COVID-19 or has a positive effect on the course and outcomes of any infectious disease.
Beware of claims made online that alcohol offers any essential benefits that you really need to have during your period of home isolation or quarantine. Alcohol is in no way a necessary component of your diet and lifestyle
Be aware that websites and social media posts offering online sales and home delivery of alcoholic beverages can lead to increased alcohol consumption and may easily target children. If you do not drink, do not let any supposed health reason or claim persuade you to start.