‘Back to work’ and those COVID-19 drinking habits: Time for a reset and rethink?

October 27, 2021

Matthew Simons

Among the unwelcome ‘by-products’ of extended lockdowns and the pandemic has been the alarming spike in alcohol and drug use among Australians, young Australians in particular. 

Studies both here and overseas (in the US and UK) showed that young adults turned increasingly to alcohol and drugs to help them cope with the isolation, dislocation, boredom and uncertainty of the extended lockdowns.

An Australian National University (ANU) report - among a number of similar global reports - shows that the stress of lockdowns drove increases in the frequency of drinking, and in total consumption. The evidence is that many people relied on increased consumption – to hazardous and harmful levels – to ease distress and anxiety triggered by the pandemic and lockdown response.

With business re-opening, and people returning to workplaces in numbers, this poses a wellbeing challenge for employers (and a health and safety imperative), as well as a personal challenge for individuals who may be wondering, “Have these negative coping practices taken a grip on my life?”

For many, isolation and alcohol, with a fridge in easy reach (and to-the-door deliveries), proved an uncomfortable mix.

Of course, alcohol and drug-use only relieves worries and anxieties temporarily and can quickly usher in a new set of problems. (See ADA’s The Little Blue Book of MENTAL HEALTH Covid-19 Edition pp. 45)

If you can relate to this, and you have concerns about your alcohol and drug use, know that you aren’t alone. The pandemic has taken many down the same dangerous path.

So, if you’re questioning how healthy your relationship is with drugs and alcohol, remember that there is help available: we’re in your corner, and we’d love to chat.

We can also come to your business to provide – at the drop of a hat – refresher training around alcohol and drugs, their impact on health and wellbeing, detection periods, and their impact on safe work practices. (All done in the context of your Workplace Alcohol and Drugs Policy).

If this information raised any concerns for you, please do speak to your GP, they can help you back to good health, or call a helpline: LIFELINE 13 11 14 or BeyondBlue 1300 22 4636.

(See links for more information:)

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165178120333370?via%3Dihub

https://www.anu.edu.au/news/all-news/alcohol-consumption-increases-during-covid-19-crisis

Article by
Matthew Simons