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Drinking During a Pandemic: When Is Stay-at-Home Drinking a Problem?

a person on a couch sips wine

Alcohol consumption is up during the COVID-19 pandemic, in the wake of social isolation and job and money concerns. Nielsen, a market research firm, reported alcoholic beverage sales were up 55% in a week compared to 2019 (beer was up 66% and wine up 42%), while a 75% increase in hard liquor sales was reported.1 Alcohol rehab in Tennessee may be the solution if stay-at-home drinking has become a problem.

How Much Drinking Is Normal?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks daily for men. It also defines excessive drinking as having four or more drinks on any day, eight or more drinks per week (for women), and 15 or more drinks a week (for men). Consuming four or five (or more) drinks in two hours falls under the department’s definition of binge drinking.

COVID-19 and Your Drinking Habits

Financial pressures and lack of social support are leading many to cope by drinking. With so much pressure, not to mention fears of contracting the virus, decision-making becomes more difficult. This makes it harder to avoid drinking too much.

Signs You May Have a Drinking Problem

The most common signs of binge drinking include:

  • Lack of Control: Drinking takes priority over everything else, including personal hobbies and interests. You drink more and more without concern over being up in time for work, or you start drinking earlier than usual while working from home.
  • Regular Drinking: If you’re drinking heavily on a regular basis, alone or with other people, it could be a sign of dependency or addiction. Drinking to cope with stress, boredom, or loneliness and/or having frequent hangovers can signal a problem.

Couple refusing to drink wine and whiskey

  • Increased Tolerance: With increased consumption, the same quantity of alcohol doesn’t have the same effect. You’ll need to drink more to feel the same way you did. Increased tolerance is an early warning sign of alcohol dependence.
  • Aggression: Anger, aggression, and violent behavior while drinking can mean it’s best to cut back or stop. Alcohol can make it hard to control your emotions. It also reduces inhibitions, which can fuel more extreme outbursts.
  • Decline in Mental Health: While alcohol can make you feel relaxed initially, too much can increase your anxiety and feelings of depression. Heavy drinking can make it hard to sleep, which can affect how you deal with stress.

How Addiction and Recovery Services Can Help

Apex Recovery offers alcohol treatment in Tennessee and can help cope with stress and mental health disorders. Personalized therapies are available, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and family counseling, and we accept several types of insurance. If you or a loved one’s drinking habit has become a problem, call us at 877-798-4404 to learn more about how we can help.


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