COVID-19 Party Drinkers: Addicted or Just Irresponsible?
By now you’ve likely seen the viral videos of “spring breakers” partying during the COVID-19 pandemic despite recommendations from experts and officials to stay home. Many of these partygoers continued going out without any regard for their safety or that of others until beaches were closed. This can only make us wonder, are these spring breakers who might have drinking problems?
During this time of social distancing and quarantine, over 158 million Americans and counting have been urged to stay in their homes. This comes at the possible expense of their jobs, relationships and emotional health.
It can be frustrating when young people blatantly ignore sound medical advice. These partiers are putting thousands of people at risk for potential infection, and strain on an already-fragile healthcare system. They’re also flaunting their recklessness in the face of the hundreds of millions who have chosen to exercise proper social responsibility.
It’s easy to characterize the choice to move forward with their plans in the face of global pandemic as selfishness and irresponsibility. However, some of these partygoers may not be able to help themselves. Are the actions of these spring breakers fueled by the need for social interaction, or just the need to drink?
Spring Break as a Drinking Holiday
Any young adult who has been a student can understand the excitement of spring break. The allure of travel and vacation promises excitement to many college kids embroiled in their academic work.
Who wouldn’t be excited by the idea of traveling to a touristy location for a spring break vacation? The best kind of beach weather rolls around in March, and considering the circumstances, I’m sure we’d all love to escape to paradise for a week.
However, the unfortunate truth is that peak drinking rates usually correlate with events and holidays like spring break. Many students use spring break as an opportunity to not only travel, but also to drink excessively.
Most spring break trips have been associated with elevated drinking and risky behavior. According to one study, risks for serious negative consequences are heightened in both light and heavy drinkers. There’s also evidence that many heavy drinkers seek out opportunities like spring break to engage in extreme drinking activities.
Risky Behavior and Its Link to Alcohol Abuse
In the viral video circulating, one of the spring breakers can be heard saying “I’m not going to let [coronavirus] stop me from partying.” Many spring breakers who partied at Florida beaches felt the same.
Spring breakers who ignored social distancing precautions exhibited a number of risky behaviors, drinking among them. The biggest issue with this behavior is that they not only endangered themselves, but put many others at risk for contracting the COVID-19 virus.
High-risk behavior is one of the prime indicators of addiction. While it’s obvious that not everyone at this year’s South Beach spring break party had a drinking problem, statistically, many of them might.
Almost 37 percent of all college students aged 18-22 self-report binge drinking monthly, while roughly 10 percent drink heavily. In fact, about one of every five college students fit the criteria for alcohol use disorders according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Of the thousands risking infection by socially celebrating spring break this year, it’s likely that a notable percentage of spring breakers had issues with drinking. If you were among that handful, we’re here to help.
Alcohol Abuse and Its Long Term Impact on the Immune System
Because of how contagious COVID-19 is, social distancing has been implemented to help those with compromised immune systems. Although many partygoers and spring breakers assume that they won’t be too impacted by the virus, this might not be the case.
Many experts have long observed the link between excessive drinking and disrupted immune systems. Alcohol can impair the body’s ability to fight off infections by disrupting the immune pathways, leaving alcoholics and heavy drinkers susceptible to illness. In fact, excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to a number of different pulmonary diseases, especially pneumonia.
Considering that the COVID-19 virus impacts the lungs most heavily, those who struggle with alcohol abuse are at increased risk. For many spring breakers who might have issues with alcohol, this bodes ill.
What If I Do Have a Problem?
Everyone in recovery regrets some of the actions they took while under the influence. This might prove true for some individuals who decided they wouldn’t let the virus “stop them from partying.”
If you were among those who risked coronavirus to get drunk on the beach and realized that you might have a problem, we’re not judging you. More than anything, we want you to get the alcohol addiction treatment you need and deserve.
At Recovery Unplugged, we’ve been doing our utmost to ensure that our clients remain safe from infection while continuing to offer quality care from the other health emergency in their lives: addiction. If you’ve come to the conclusion that you or your loved one has an issue with drinking and partying, we’re here for you.
Our admissions team is always available to take your calls 24/7. Reach out to us today to take the first step towards a life where you can say #iPartySober.