Coping with Vices

Vices As Coping Devices

To say that recent life has been challenging is a mere understatement. In these times of pandemic and societal shift, all humans are seeking ways to be soothed. As children, self-soothing is simple: snuggling a security blanket, thumb sucking, asking to be held by a caregiver. Based on statistics and news reporting, for adults, self-soothing is a bit more intense and not necessarily healthy. If you are feeling guilty about some of your choices during these times of high anxiety, you are not alone.

Since the very first week of lockdown in March, Americans flocked to liquor stores. According to Nielsen consumer market measurements, during the first week of lockdown, spirit sales were up 75%, wine by 66%, and beer up by 42%. For those too afraid to venture out to a liquor store, online sales of all types of alcohol were up by 243%. Alcohol as a self soothing device isn’t where Americans stopped. 

Marijuana sales in states where purchases are legal is elevated to a degree where some stores are unable to keep up with demand. Eaze, an online cannabis retailer, reported that first-time purchases of cannabis were up more than 50% in early March. The cannabis industry reports that due to the respiratory risks associated with COVID-19 and studies regarding “vaping illness,” purchases have recently shifted to edible forms of marijuana.

Pornography consumption went up almost immediately, as lockdown provides more opportunity and plenty of at-home privacy. In the first week of lockdown, Pornhub reported a 6.4% increase, and compared to March, April’s use was up by 22%. Financial concerns are not a burden for this industry as most porn is available for free, which only serves to encourage consumption.

Of the more obvious eyebrow-raising diversions or anxiety-coping mechanisms increasing in popularity, gambling and its “younger cousin,” gaming, are proving profitable to their respective industries. Due to lack of sports and the corresponding sports betting, online casino and table gaming have seen a surge of new customers. Online slot machines are busy with digital customers and online poker revenues were up by more than 100% in February. Revenue from iGaming reached a record $64.8 million. As for video games, various new livestream platforms all reported their best revenue-generating month in March and continue to do very well.

Another, more seemingly benign coping mechanism, was also heavily utilized by Americans: food. Americans are over eating and enjoying more treats and baked goods than in “normal times.” In fact, weight gain during lockdown has two nicknames, “the COVID 15” or the “quarantine 15.”

Now that you realize you may not be alone, you might feel more comfortable applying tools and coaching to “right the ship.” Please contact us for assistance. We stand at the ready to assist you at the helm of a new and healthier direction.

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