The South African government has placed a nationwide ban on the sale of alcohol during the lockdown period, but how does this affect those with alcohol addiction during lockdown?
According to the World Health Organisation, South Africa has the fifth highest rate of alcohol consumption in the world.
This causes a major health and safety concern for those with alcohol addiction, as well as their family and loved ones.
Excessive alcohol consumption is directly linked to some of the most destructive socio-economic issues in our country.
There are two sides to the way in which the alcohol ban will affect those with addiction problems, each of which are equally concerning.
The first concern is how boredom induced by lockdown can encourage excessive alcohol consumption, resulting in additional safety concerns such as alcohol poisoning and increased domestic violence.
There is an undeniable link between violence and alcoholism as negative emotions and unresolved conflict can be exacerbated while under the influence of alcohol.
Many South Africans stockpiled disproportionate amounts of alcohol before the ban was enforced. However, with unrestrained access to alcohol, it’s likely that those with alcohol addiction have consumed more than their usual quota, which leads to the second major concern; what happens when the alcohol runs out?
When alcohol stock runs out in South African households, individuals will be forced to go cold-turkey, which can cause major health concerns such as serious depression, anxiety, suicide and violence.
Withdrawal symptoms can prompt extreme behaviour and severe psychological and physiological effects that cannot easily be managed without the correct medical support and supervision.
Furthermore, as bootlegging becomes more lucrative during these times, those with alcohol addiction may turn to illegal behaviour in order to obtain more alcohol from illegal suppliers.
It goes without saying that isolation can be a powerful force behind addictive behaviour and with the enforcement of social isolation, many may be left to navigate the lockdown alone and without their vital support system.
Social withdrawal can heighten feelings of loneliness, depression and can diminish one’s feelings of self-worth, increasing the risk of relapse for those already in recovery.
Although helping individuals recover from substance and alcohol addiction is the cornerstone of what we do, we remain deeply concerned about the effects of the alcohol ban on those who have not received rehabilitation treatment.
The nationwide lockdown has had an unparalleled impact on South Africa’s economy as well as the health, safety and socio-economic sectors.
However, our team has remained committed to providing as much support throughout these trying times as we can while honouring the lockdown regulations and the well-being of our clients.
If you or a loved one is in need of advice, support or guidance in dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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