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Alcohol advice for the COVID-19 pandemic

Advice on why you might like to cut back on your alcohol intake and tips on how to do it:

Published: 12 November 2020

The disruption we are all facing in our lives at the moment can be difficult to cope with and can leave us feeling powerless, lonely, stressed and bored. 

Our emotions and moods are up and down more than normal. 

Dealing with all of this means many of us are drinking more than usual.  

Some reasons you might like to cut back on your alcohol intake now:  

  • you may reach for alcohol in times of stress or worry, but alcohol has a negative impact on mental health and can make stressful times feel even worse
  • when you drink too much, you may be less aware of following social distancing and hygiene advice
  • alcohol negatively affects the quality of sleep, making it even harder to cope in stressful times
  • alcohol can make your immune system less effective, impacting its ability to fight off viruses
  • taking a break or cutting down on alcohol has many health benefits
  • problem drinking can cause mental health symptoms such as anxiety, depression, concentration problems, and personality changes and have negative effects on people you live with

Tips to help you drink less

  • Don’t stockpile. We’re more likely to reach for a drink more often if it’s available to us.
  • Work out ways to relax and treat yourself that don’t involve alcohol like reading, family board games or exercise. 
  • Develop and maintain a familiar routine that involves regular sleep, mealtimes and exercise. 
  • If you drink, stick to the low-risk weekly drinking guidelines
  • Set rules around your drinking that will help such as not drinking before 10pm, not drinking on weekdays or not drinking in front of children. 

Where to get help if you need it

If you can't stop drinking, contact the HSE Helpline for support on 1800 459 459 from Monday to Friday  between 9:30am and 5:30pm or email helpline@hse.ie 

Contact Women’s Aid on 1800 341 900 if you are experiencing domestic violence.

Read more about minding your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic