DURING the third week of lockdown, alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer and spirits increased by 50 per cent.
According to the SINC agency the purchase of alcoholic beverages most typically consumed in bars and restaurants such as wine, beer and spirits has increased by 50 per cent during the third week of the coronavirus lockdown.
These levels are shockingly high because in Spain alcohol consumption is typically related to socialising, but, as Francisco Pascual, president of the Spanish Scientific Society for the Study of Alcohol, Alcoholism and other drug addiction points out, during confinement “habitual and excessive consumers of alcoholic beverages may not be aware of the problem that this abusive pattern represents.”
The president of the Association of Ex-Alcoholics of Fuenlabrada (AEF), Jesús Godino, highlights that “this period should teach us that alcohol is not only used to be sociable, but that we need it for its true purpose: a bad habit which often turns into addiction.”
Similarly, Raquel Rodríguez, a psychologist with expertise in addiction, points out that “many drug addictions begin as social use, but when this begins to be abused, a majority of people end up consuming the drugs in solitude as well.”
In addition, during quarantine the gap between people with a disorder who are already receiving treatment and people who are addicted but do not receive treatment yet, only increases.
Some professionals are offering their help over the phone or as an online service, but those who don’t turn to therapy may experience withdrawal syndrome.
Individual and group therapies being cancelled also increases the risk of relapse. The relapse rate between the first month and the sixth month after not attending therapy is very high. For this reason, Rodríguez emphasises that “relapse prevention is very necessary, especially for” those who have spent two years or less sober.
However, Francisco Pascual remains optimistic and points to the possible use of this time for individuals “to reorganise life and try to define their goals, values, and appreciate what is important.”
As for the relatives of people struggling with addiction, they are recommended to control their medication and act as a support for their loved ones. Pascual advises for them to “try and understand the context of isolation and the moments of irritability and anxiety which can be more intense in addicts than in other people.”