12 Nov 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on everyone’s lives, some more than others. The virus has had a huge impact on people’s mental health and relationships. As a result, many people have changed and increased their drinking habits.

The relation between the pandemic and alcohol consumption

When looking at the relationship between the pandemic and alcohol consumption it is key to look at how all the changes to normal life have impacted on mental health.

For some people who may be suffering with alcohol addiction the pandemic may have made this more intense. As well as this, the impact the pandemic has had on individuals’ mental health may have led to an increase in alcohol consumption or it may have made you realise that you or a loved one might have a problem with alcohol.

Despite multiple lockdowns and businesses that would usually play host to drinkers such as pubs and clubs closing, there has been an increase in alcohol consumption during the pandemic. This again might be due to how the pandemic has affected people’s mental health which may lead to more at home drinking.

According to government statistics, data from a consumer purchasing panel show that in shops and supermarkets just over 12.6 million extra litres of alcohol were sold in the financial year 2020 to 2021 compared to 2019 to 2020 (a 24.4% increase).

The evidence suggests that heavy drinkers were the most likely to have increased their drinking habits even more during the pandemic. This is worrying if it is someone who is already vulnerable and struggles with their relationship with alcohol.

The minister for public health, Joe Churchill said, “Over the last year, providers have continued to support and treat people misusing alcohol and we are backing local authorities, who know their communities best, with over £3.3 billion in 2021 to 2022 to spend on public health services including alcohol treatment.”

The pandemic having negative effects on people’s mental health can drive the consumption of alcohol. Listed below are some of the most common thoughts and feelings of someone who could be struggling with their mental health due to the pandemic specifically:

  1. Loneliness
  2. Stress
  3. Anxiety
  4. Depression
  5. Scared of the unknown

The relation between the pandemic and relationships

Since the start of the pandemic many relationships have been put to the test. With multiple lockdowns and restrictions put in place it might not be a shock that this has had a huge impact on people and their mental health.

Mental health is so important when forming and maintaining relationships, whether that is with family and friends or a partner. The people you surround yourself with in daily life have a massive impact on how your emotions and how you feel. This can be both positive and negative.

Human interaction is natural to us. People naturally form relationships with others. The pandemic changed this dramatically.

The freedom to meet new people and socialise was lost throughout the lockdowns. This meant for a lot of people they became isolated. People who were living alone were now being forced to stay at home alone with no social interaction. For others, such as couples and families living together, they were forced to stay at home, only with each other, which may have put pressure on relationships by changing the ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ dynamic of individuals lives.

According to a study by university college of London, over a fifth of adults (22%) have experienced a complete breakdown of a relationship with either family, friends, colleagues or their partner in the past year.

Young adults aged 18-29 (35%) and people with a mental health diagnosis (37%) had the highest proportion of relationship breakdowns, demonstrating yet again the disproportionate impact of this pandemic on this age group. People living with children (27%) and people with lower household income (24%) also had higher rates of relationship breakdowns.

It is clear that the pandemic has taken its toll on many people’s relationships. Many people agree that they are completely different to the person they were ‘pre-pandemic’.

How is this linked

The pandemic has had a huge impact on both alcohol consumption and relationships, but how are they linked? Mental health plays into both of these issues. The way an individual is feeling can determine their actions.

For example, if someone is feeling stressed about their job and they are working from home due to the pandemic they might reach for a glass of wine while on the clock. Although it may just seem like a glass of wine this can easily progress like a snowball effect. That glass of wine could potentially affect that person’s productively at work, this could then cause relationships problems between that person and their boss at work.

As you can see it all links together and has the ability to be very dangerous for some people. Especially if they are vulnerable. It doesn’t take much for things to take a very quick downward spiral.

The pandemic has had such an impact on society, now with life getting back to some sort of ‘normality’ again it doesn’t mean that people aren’t struggling. In some cases, the thought of socialising in big groups or even going to a club or event can seem daunting after all this time. Maybe there might be changing happening in the workplace, going back into the office. All these things are massive changes and have an impact on how you’re feeling.

If you are feeling worried or concerned about anything please reach out for support and talk to someone. Bottling up these emotions creates a higher potential risk of you abusing alcohol.

If you are concerned about you or your loved one, please do not hesitate to give our specialist team a call. 90% of our staff are in recovery themselves and will be happy to answer and questions or queries you may have. We want to help and support you.