Coronavirus crisis: Shoppers rush at supermarkets and alcohol stores before possible lockdown

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The Coronavirus pandemic is rapidly spreading all around the world and has already affected over 380,000 people globally, causing over 16,000 deaths. But these numbers only represent the people who have directly been affected by this crisis. Yet, all of us have powerfully felt the consequences of the pandemic. 

Some people are now in isolation at their own homes or specialised isolation centres. Others had to comply with their governments’ lockdown restrictions. And, others are temporarily in technical unemployment. But apart from that, we are all experiencing the anxiety and fear of getting infected. Plus, we fear to have our loved ones getting infected, or even the fear of losing our jobs. 

Now, most countries have already, or plan to, put their citizens in lockdown. The result? Panic shoppers have cleared grocery aisles of toilet paper, food, and self-care products as they prepare to hunker down at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Yet, it seems that food is not the only thing people are buying to prepare for staying inside for the next period. Alcohol is another top priority on the shopping lists of those preparing for the lockdown. 

Alcohol aisles are now being stripped bare by panic buyers who are continuing to go on panic buying ignoring the warnings from specialists to stop panic-buying during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

What does this mean? 

The fight against the coronavirus Covid-19 has brought some changes worldwide, including shut down pubs, bars, cafes, and restaurants. And, it seems that people are now worried and rush to the shops to panic buy supplies. Many pictures of shelves left completely empty have emerged online. But, those pictures showed something controversially: not only that the food shelves have been emptied, but the same happened with the alcohol shelves as well. So, it seems that people are also panic buying alcohol now.

With people rushing to stock their liquor cabinets as bars and restaurants are closing and lockdowns are being imposed, there’s one obvious conclusion: buying alcoholic drinks is a just as important as stocking for food is. 

Alcohol is not a solution for anxiety and stress

This unprecedented demand for alcohol ahead of an anticipated Covid-19 lockdown can have multiple explanations, including alcohol consumption for dealing with the anxious feeling people from all around the world are experiencing.

The pandemic brings a lot of confusion, unanswered questions, and feelings of fear. And, people are struggling to deal with this mixture of emotions they never had to deal with before. The result? Anxiety and depression rates are on the rise as we are all going through an unprecedented situation. And, for those people struggling to understand and control such powerful feelings and emotions, alcohol may seem the handiest coping mechanism for panic, fear, loneliness, and confusion. 

However, many studies show that alcohol changes levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in our brains, which can actually worsen anxiety. Moreover, after the alcohol wears off, people may actually feel more anxious.  

Plus, it’s no secret that alcohol can have a significant impact on our decision-making which may be a real danger in such times of a global pandemic. To be more precise, alcohol affects the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which ultimately disrupts decision-making and rational thought. Moreover, it also reduces the functions of the behavioural inhibitory centres in the brain. Therefore, alcohol may prompt people to act without thinking about their actions.

Now, considering the global situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, let’s imagine what lowered inhibitions and wrong decisions may lead to. For example, an isolated person who mustn’t leave their home may ignore the recommendations of the authorities after consuming alcohol. And, such decisions will not only put them in danger but all their peers considering the context that we are dealing with a highly-contagious virus. 

Alcohol addicts may struggle during the lockdown 

Data from WHO suggest that there are over 3.3 million deaths that result from harmful use of alcohol. But that is not all because harmful alcohol use is such a significant trend globally that no study would be able to provide accurate data. 

Why is it difficult to know how many people suffer from alcoholism globally? There are several reasons why it is hard to determine precisely how many people struggle with alcohol abuse, including alcoholism being a taboo topic and the fact that very few individuals seek professional help to recover from alcohol addiction

Now, let’s explore how the anticipated Covid-19 lockdown will impact these people struggling with alcohol abuse. First of all, a possible lockdown and the inability to buy alcohol will make people suffering from alcoholism struggle with the withdrawal symptoms. 

The first withdrawal symptoms usually appear as early as six hours after people have the last alcoholic drink. The symptoms can range from mild to very serious, depending on how long the person used alcohol in a harmful way. While mild symptoms can include anxiety, shaky hands, headache, insomnia, and sweating, the more severe symptoms can include hallucinations, seizures, confusion, and high blood pressure. 

Now, while the mild symptoms are usually easy to put up with on your own, if you are experiencing more serious problems, it can be as bad as putting your life in danger. Thus, people who experience withdrawal symptoms during the lockdown in the context of the coronavirus pandemic might need medical assistance to give up alcohol abuse in safely healthily. 

As our entire world is struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic, we are discovering more unhealthy habits in our lifestyles, including how big of a problem alcohol consumption is globally. Stress drinking is certainly not the solution to go through these hard times. Yet, people seem to ignore that alcohol brings more harm than comfort and support in times like this. Increased alcohol consumption during the Covid-19 pandemic can have both short-term consequences, such as weakening our immune systems, and long-term effects such as making us develop dangerous drinking problems.