Anxiety and Alcohol

Anecdotally the  relationship between anxiety and alcohol seems to have developed exponentially. The Lockdown has not just swept through our communities with all the destructive force of  hurricane it is devastating communities. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated psychological distress in individuals as a result of social isolation, financial distress, and the unpredictability of the pandemic.  It has also fomented a disabling anxiety, which has exacerbated the already dangerously high levels of hazardous alcohol consumption. It is true that South Africans appear to exceed normal drinking patterns to the point of binge drinking, with statistics suggesting  that per capita, alcohol consumption is disproportionately high within the population of South Africa. But no doubt the fear and attendant anxiety of contracting the COVID-19 virus has caused people to substantially increase their alcohol consumption. It is likely that alcohol provides the opportunity to self-medicate the fear and dull down the pain. However, alcohol-related problems are extremely prevalent and often particularly impact women and people living in poverty, one in ten women in South Africa experience alcohol-related problems. Additionally, gender-based violence which is endemic to South Africa has seen significant increases. A review of much of the recent  literature suggests that the anxiety-alcohol relationship is reaching equally concerning  epidemic proportions especially in the Western Cape. There is the consummate need to try, on at least one level to manage the alcohol abuse and even the dependence it is likely creating. Pretending that its just “while I’m stressed” is often the precursor to a  path  of  hopelessness and destruction. Acting now to assist yourself is not just prudent it is lifesaving

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