With many people who are still employed in the DMV area working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak, habits and daily routines have changed. A new study found one of those changes is that some people are taking the opportunity to drink alcohol while working from home.
Alcohol.org, an online resource operated by American Addiction Centers that provides information on alcohol abuse and addiction, conducted a survey of 3,000 people working from home across the U.S. to see how many are drinking during their workday.
Locally, 40% of Marylanders and 50& of Virginians (data from DC was not provided) said they’ve had alcohol during work hours while working from home. That’s well above the survey’s national average of 32%.
Clinical psychologist and Direct of the Capital Center for Psychotherapy and Wellness Dr. Gregory Jones said, “While not surprising that many Americans would turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism during this trying time, there are potential short- and long-term effects on health and safety.”
An immediate concern is that alcohol abuse suppresses the body’s immune system response, with particular effects on the lungs’ ability to fight off infections like COVID-19.
In addition, the longer people rely on alcohol as a form of self-medication, the more likely they are to develop alcoholic tendencies or become an alcoholic.
Dr. Jones recommends that individuals who think they or someone they know has a drinking problem seek help. A good starting point is the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline, a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. The Helpline is available at 800-662-HELP.