Online Alcohol Sales Go Viral

Most Americans stay at home and practice “social distancing” to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. But, unfortunately, they’re also stocking up on groceries, toilet paper, and, as it turns out, record amounts of alcohol. Around the third week of March, the market research firm Nielsen reports online sales of alcohol were up by 234 percent.

The alcohol industry is going gangbusters, seeing a 55 percent spike in sales from this time last year.

Nielsen also noted:

  • Spirits and liquor sales increased by 75 percent
  • The sale of wine has seen a 66 percent increase
  • Beer sales are up 42 percent
  • Ready-to-drink cocktails are up by 106 percent

Much of the increase in alcohol sales is because bars and restaurants are closed. As a result, people must do all of their drinking at home.

It’s difficult to quantify whether or not people are consuming more alcohol during this pandemic. However, some experts worry the forced social isolation will take its toll on people’s mental health. They are especially concerned about those who already struggle with alcohol and substance abuse issues.

Some people have chosen not to drink right now.

According to NPR News, a self-proclaimed casual drinker, Catherina Hurlburt, who lives in Northern Virginia, explained her choice to abstain from alcohol.

“I just wanted to keep a clear head and not medicate any anxiety that’s going on about the closures and uncertainty,” Hurlburt said.

Indeed, not everyone who drinks has a problem with alcoholism or alcohol dependency. However, consuming more alcohol than average can lead to some unwanted and unpleasant consequences.

Heavy alcohol consumption can alter the brain’s natural chemistry. For example, it can deplete serotonin stores, a neurochemical associated with mood, sleep, and overall well-being. Over time, this can lead to substance-induced disorders.

“Symptoms of substance-induced disorders run the gamut from mild anxiety and depression to full-blown manic and other psychotic reaction,” according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Some of the symptoms associated with alcohol-induced depression and anxiety may include:

  • Difficulty sleeping or feeling tired, a lack of energy
  • Troubles concentrating
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Joint and body pain, as well as headaches

Consuming alcohol might make people feel better in the short term and is generally okay in small doses. However, drinking too much alcohol is physically and mentally unhealthy.

While the nation’s healthcare institutions and professionals are trying to manage the coronavirus is causing, staying as healthy as possible is a way to ensure immunity.

This effort can take various forms, depending on a person’s environment, but simple measures are for everyone. They maintain a healthy, balanced diet and exercise a little each day (even inside the home). Getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night will go a long way for good mental and physical health.

For people in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction, online support groups offer an excellent way to stay in contact with other sober, like-minded individuals.