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Alcohol & Other Drugs, News & Media

Changing patterns of alcohol and drug consumption over lockdown. How much is now too much?

Posted on: 1 June, 2021

For over a year, the lives and routines of people across the world changed and with it so did their patterns of drinking and drug taking. For some, a daily glass of wine, beer or something stronger became a habit that broke the boredom. For others, substance use decreased as access became more difficult and social interaction a thing of the past. Whichever way, as we emerge out of lockdown and pick up where we left off, we need to find our new normal when it comes to alcohol and drugs to stay safe and in control.

So much has changed over the last 12 months, in every aspect of our lives. Human beings are the most sociable species on the planet and for over year we were told that interaction with other people was forbidden. This has taken a toll on the mental and emotional wellbeing of many of us and now that normality is returning we are finding that our ‘normal’ has changed.

This is particularly true when it comes to use of alcohol or drugs. Many people saw their use of substances increase during lockdown. The occasional glass of wine became more of a habit and what was once social use became more regular. With this our tolerance to the substance increased so you might now be finding that you need more to feel any effect.

On the other hand, there are those whose substance use decreased or stopped during lockdown. Perhaps it wasn’t as easy to get hold of illicit substances or perhaps some used it as an opportunity to reduce their use. How does that feel now things are reopening? Are those old temptations still there? Tolerance needs to be considered here too – if you haven’t used for a while you may find that a smaller amount affects you more than you were expecting.

So where do we go from here? Firstly, take it slow. We all want to get out and see friends and make up for lost time but the tendency is to binge and consume large amounts of alcohol or drugs in a short space time. This can be dangerous as your tolerance is likely to have changed. Always start slow and low with small amounts. You can’t take it out of your body when it’s in so it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Secondly, get some advice: give Cranstoun a call if you have any questions or concerns about your substance use, or someone else’s. We can provide one-off advice and information sessions to anyone who wants to know more. We promote empowerment and safety and the right to choose. We won’t tell you what to do but we will tell you how to reduce risks. Also, if you feel that now is the time to take control and address those bad habits you gained during lockdown or continue the good progress you made – we are here to offer support and motivation to reach whatever goal you want to achieve.

Finally, enjoy the new freedoms that are returning and see this as an opportunity – not to go back to normal but to move forward to better!

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