It is no exaggeration to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in an unprecedented way. The Black Lives Matter protests and social unrest in the United States are similarly unprecedented and may be the largest movement in U.S. history.
During times of stress and crisis, people are sometimes driven to substance abuse and may even become addicted to alcohol or relapse to a previous addiction. Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in the country, which is why we chose to focus on it in our survey.
In July 2020, we conducted a survey via Google Surveys of women in California age 25 or older. Over 1,500 women responded to the survey question:
Since COVID-19 & the BLM protests have started, has your use of alcohol increased?
Our survey results were very consistent with national data: the Alcohol Research Group indicates that 38% of women do not drink at all, and 42.9% of our respondents self-reported as non-drinkers. One important caveat is that 61% of our respondents were 55 or older, which we considered while interpreting the results given that older women have different drinking habits than younger generations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly not encouraged women to drink less, with only 1% of respondents reporting a reduction in drinking. A stunning 56.0% of women surveyed reported they drink more or the same amount of alcohol, with 4.4% of the total respondents having doubled their drinking or more.
Some women surveyed gave additional insight into their quarantine drinking habits. One respondent specifically mentioned video calls with family as a time to drink, which has become a common option for socializing at a distance. Another said she had quit drinking to get in better shape; that’s quite understandable, given that most gyms are closed or at limited capacity!
Drinking doesn’t have to be the answer
Given that drinking is typically a social activity, we were surprised that the survey results indicated an increase in drinking despite the decrease in opportunity for in-person socializing. The hardships and stress of how different life is during the pandemic and U.S. social unrest make it much more tempting to drink as a stress reliever. While not all drinking habits are unhealthy, problem drinking and alcoholism are more likely than you may expect.
Melissa Holmes Goodmon is the founder and CEO of Casa Capri Recovery, a leading California addiction treatment center created just for women—by women. Melissa is a licensed clinician and has stayed on the cutting edge of women’s treatment since 2006. Because of her own beautiful recovery story, she is proud to be among a small group of trailblazers since founding Casa Capri Recovery for Women in 2011, leading the way for other women to join them in this otherwise male-dominated industry. She is considered an advocate for the recovery community in the truest sense, standing up to discrimination and legally fighting for the rights of sober people in recovery to live in peace. To learn more about advocacy or if you’ve experienced discrimination, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out casacaprirecovery.com for more information on our program, or please give us a call at 844-207-4880.