East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Public Health team is advising people to think about their alcohol use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to people spending much more time at home there is a concern that many are drinking more frequently and more heavily since lockdown.
Working from home and being furloughed has removed the need to commute for many and the extra free time has led to many using alcohol to alleviate boredom or to manage the anxiety and stress caused by the pandemic.
Drinking more alcohol on a daily basis may seem relatively harmless over a short period of time, but as social distancing continues, more people are at risk of developing habitual alcohol use and may find it hard to go back to healthy drinking levels as restrictions are lifted.
Where a person has used alcohol to help with relaxation or stress, they may find that feelings of anxiety or discomfort are now worse at the prospect of drinking less.
However, for some people, the lockdown has been an opportunity to adopt healthier lifestyle behaviours and reduce drinking as the pubs and restaurants have been closed.
As further restrictions are eased and plans are in place for bars to open, many will be looking forward to going to the pub again.
It’s important to recognise that after a period of drinking less, a person’s tolerance to alcohol may have reduced.
This means that alcohol may affect a person more and they will become intoxicated more quickly leaving them vulnerable to injury and other alcohol related harms.
Mel McKee, public health commissioning lead for addictions and substance use from East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “We want people to return to socialising responsibly and to enjoy life returning to a more normal pace.
“Try alternating alcoholic drinks with low or no-alcohol beers and wines, or soft drinks to pace yourself.
“Our advice is to take a moment to consider whether your alcohol use is safe, sensible and physically distant but still sociable.
“If you feel like you need a drink to relax or pass the time then consider seeking further advice and support.”
The East Riding Partnership is open to discuss any alcohol concerns in confidence and can be accessed by appointment on (01482) 336675.
You can also visit www.eastridinghealthandwellbeing.co.uk/information/alcohol/