Battling alcohol addiction and finding help amid pandemic

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Since Ohio has been under a stay at home order due to COVID-19, alcohol sales have risen

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Millions of Americans struggle with excessive alcohol consumption, leading to complications in work, family and health. 

The month of April is Alcohol Awareness Month, designed to highlight the growing need for resources and education when it comes to alcohol consumption. 

“You might hear somebody say ‘he holds his liquor well’ or ‘she holds her liquor well’ or ‘I can drink more than you.’ Well, the reason they might hold their liquor well is because they have developed a tolerance of alcohol over time because of the amount that they’ve been using,” Alicia Santilli, clinical director of Hope Counseling and Addiction Services.

Alcohol addiction can take many forms. If a person feels they need to drink in order to feel ok, or if the drink on a consistent basis, it is possible they may have an addiction. 

Santilli said there are different warning signs to look for. 

“Some of the more obvious signs of alcoholism would be that you smell it on them, and you smell it during times that they’re not necessarily actively involved in drinking,” she said.

She also says a person struggling with alcohol addiction may tend to isolate themselves more often and spend less time with friends and family.

There are different reasons a person may turn to alcohol. Santilli says stress can be a reason. 

“In order to cope with that stress, you know, they might be turning to alcohol. To be able to not feel what they’re feeling about what’s going on in their life, especially most recently with the pandemic,” she said.

Since Ohio has been under a stay at home order due to COVID-19, alcohol sales have risen. 

Nielson research shows alcoholic beverage sales increased in March; sales were up by 55% in the third week of March compared to the same week last year.

“Some people may have used alcohol in the past to cope before, so they’re turning to alcohol again. But I would really watch out for how much you’re purchasing if you’re drinking every day because that could definitely turn into dependence,” she said.

Santilli says alcoholism also tends to run in families. 

“Addiction across all boards is hereditary, so we do see, when I assess individuals, that their father or mother may have been an alcoholic,” she said.

Hope Counseling and Addiction Services offer a partial hospitalization program, an intensive outpatient program and outpatient treatment.

Hope Counseling and Addiction Services offers services to its patients inside Adult and Teen Challenge Ohio Valley. 

Santilli says although they are taking extra precautions during this time, Teen Challenge is still open to accept new residents and has room available. 

Anyone who would like to reach out to find out more about their services can call 330-743-HOPE or visit their website and Facebook Page. 

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