As life starts to go back to normal and restaurants and bars open up, there are a few extra precautions one should make when going outside. Putting on a mask, and carrying hand sanitizer on your person is essential, but another thing to remember is to control your drinking. 

People like to indulge when they have been restricted from having things that they want. For some, this may mean overindulging with alcohol as bars open back up for this first time in months. Significantly, people get to go back outside and interact with safety precautions in place, but it is also important to avoid binge drinking now that alcohol is more easily accessible. 

What has happened

In New Jersey, on Monday, June 15, the state allowed outdoor restaurants to reopen. Rules will be set in place by the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), and alcohol can be served in outdoor dining areas as long as they comply with the 6ft rule. With this in place, June will be over inundated with people going out to enjoy themselves. People will be excited to go to restaurants, but there will need to be a need for caution. We still need to observe social distancing and be aware of overindulgence. 

In a 2018 Survey by the National Institue of Alcohol Use Disorder and Alcoholism, over 14.4 million adults struggle with an alcohol abuse disorder. For people with Alchohol Use Disorder, they will find it harder to stop drinking. An alcoholic can even condition themselves to drink regularly, by associating it with specific activities and making it their new standard practice. People who become addicted to alcohol may start to notice drinking does not affect them as much. Their body may begin to acclimate to the amounts of alcohol they usually consume, and they will have to drink more to start feeling its effects. However, that will hurt their organs in the long run and only increase their addiction to alcohol.

How does this affect me? 

It is essential during this time to make sure that one does not go out and binge drink even though it has been a long time. Binge drink can only increase the risk of forming an addiction. It can impair your judgment and can lead to injuries. Over 17 billion binge drinks are consumed annually, and over half of these will be drunk by people over 35. It is crucial to be aware of how much you are drinking and how it affects you. 

How do you avoid binge drinking first thing out of quarantine? 

Be aware if you are predisposed or have a history with alcoholism. If you know that you were a binge drinker or have drunk excessively in the past, avoid alcohol to prevent a relapse. Alcohol abuse disorder can happen to many people. Still, from men between the ages of 18-24, it is the most common if you know that you are unable to control yourself in an environment try to avoid situations that will make you uncomfortable. It can also help if you have someone there to support you and encourage you to avoid alcohol. 

If possible, try to know your limits, have the serving size of your drink of choice, and try not to go past that. Do not feel peer pressured into drinking more than what you can comfortably handle. Going out to drink is not a competition, and you do not have to try and outdrink other people. Have one or two drinks depending on what you are having and enjoy being out of quarantine while maintaining social distancing. 

Bars mainly focus on alcohol and so if you know you or someone you know cannot stop themselves try to avoid the option entirely; a million places are opening up that will allow you to enjoy outdoor seating. Make it easier to prevent drinking by choosing a place that serves excellent food as their focus. 

 What happens if I find I am struggling with alcohol abuse disorder? 

If you have found that you are showing signs of alcohol addiction, then there are a few things that you can do to fight addiction. The first thing you might think to try is to quit immediately. It may not be a choice if you or someone with alcoholism cannot access alcohol. If this is the route, you or someone you know chooses to be aware that there might be withdrawal symptoms. 

The other option would be to try and find a treatment plan that works for you. Some programs use medication, other methods may use therapy, and other options have different techniques that can help you overcome addiction. 

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms can include depression, anxiety, nausea, and other things in varying degrees. Some symptoms can be moderate within the first few hours but can turn more severe. Every person has the potential to experience it differently, depending on how their body reacts. 

Anyone who has become dependant on alcohol will experience some version of withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking. Doing research or just reach out for help is very important. The withdrawal process can be hard to navigate by oneself, and it essential to have people who know what to do. So if you or someone you love is trying to overcome alcoholism, then the best thing to do is reach out for help. 

Trying to Find Help

The best solution would be to find a treatment center near you. In New Jersey, Pinelands Medical Center of Medford can create both inpatient and outpatient treatment plans. Treatment plans like this mean that recovery centers cater to individual schedules and find the right treatment plan for you or someone you want to help. They have a professional staff ready to help, and they all have experience with alcoholism and alcohol abuse disorder. 

If you are trying to help someone get assistance for alcohol abuse, feel free to contact Pinelinds Medical Center. They are happy to help guide you to the right treatment and get you on the path to recovery. It is never too late to change.