Alcohol Addiction: How to Support a Loved One with a Drinking Problem

Alcohol Addiction: How to Support a Loved One with a Drinking Problem

By Jackie Molan

Alcohol addiction is a very difficult problem to deal with, not only for the person struggling with it, but also for their loved ones. Since addiction and the subsequent recovery process tend to occur over a period of many years, it is important to understand how to support those we care about who are struggling with alcohol addiction.

Preparing for the Conversation

If you are concerned that a loved one is misusing alcohol, the first step is to do your own research about alcohol use disorder. Once you understand the signs, symptoms, and types of treatments, it will be easier to have an informed discussion with the person struggling. Give plenty of thought to what you want to say, and aim to start the discussion when the person is sober and you are both in a private space with limited likelihood for interruptions. You should avoid using terms with stigma attached, like “alcoholic,” and try to use “I” statements as much as possible to avoid sounding accusatory. For example, instead of saying “You have a problem and need to get help,” say “I care about you and am concerned for your health.”

The Conversation

It is often difficult for people to admit that they have an alcohol problem. Therefore, their first instinct might be to defend themselves and become argumentative. It is important that you stay as calm as possible and remind them that you are coming from a place of genuine care and concern. Offer to help them make a plan and take steps toward recovery, like calling a therapist to schedule an appointment. Remember that you cannot force them to go to treatment if they are unwilling, but initiating a conversation can be a good first step which might help them become more open to the idea. Many people will try to achieve sobriety on their own first, but ultimately, professional mental health treatment is the most effective way to confront alcohol addiction. 

Personal Considerations

While supporting someone with alcohol addiction issues, it is essential to remember to care for yourself as well. Set boundaries to prevent codependence, or becoming more invested in your loved one’s health than your own life. Discuss their comfort level with having alcohol in the house or having others drink in front of them. Above all, remain interested and invested in their recovery process. Support them in situations where they are involuntarily exposed to alcohol, and ask them about their treatment. Your support can be an incredibly meaningful piece in their journey to recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/alcohol#supporting-someone-with-a-drinking-problem

https://www.healthline.com/health/most-important-things-you-can-do-help-alcoholic#takeaway

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/alcoholism-treatment/loving-an-addict

The Link between Alcoholism and Depression

By Jenna Chiavelli

Alcoholism and Depression

Alcohol Use Disorder is characterized by disordered drinking that leads to significant distress and changes in behavior. One of the strongest predictors of alcoholism is family history, as genetics can attribute to one’s predisposition to alcoholism. Underlying psychological disorders contribute to alcoholism as well as people turn to substances to numb pain. Socially speaking, one’s environment can lead to alcoholism if the environment favors a culture of drinking.

Addiction is a controlling disease and when mixed with depression, treatment can become even more complex. Depression is a common co-occurring disorder with at least 30%-40% of alcoholics experiencing a depressive disorder. Depression is a mood disorder which can generate persistent feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and pessimism, disrupting everyday life. The combination of addiction and depression is especially harmful as the conditions fuel each other.

Depression Contributing to Alcoholism

Substances like alcohol can be appealing to those suffering from depression, as alcohol’s sedating effects offer an escape from overwhelming feelings of sadness. This form of self-medication can temporarily relieve depressive symptoms, but this is not a permanent solution. Over time, the feelings of sadness linger despite the sedating effects of alcohol, leading those struggling with depression to increase their alcohol intake to suppress the pain. This dangerous cycle contributes to a substance abuse disorder.

Alcoholism Contributing to Depression

Alcohol releases neurotransmitters in the brain, resulting in the euphoric feeling of being drunk. As alcohol users consistently chase this high, the copious amount of alcohol is simultaneously limiting the brain’s ability to sustain neurotransmitters at normal levels. This disruption in the nervous system impacts one’s mood; therefore, when there is a reduction of neurotransmitters a person may feel symptoms of depression. Additionally, alcohol increases the duration and severity of depressive episodes and increases the likelihood of suicidal thoughts. 

Drinking alcohol also alters behavior and fuels acts of impulse. The consequences of one’s drunken actions may be overwhelming leading to feelings of sadness and shame. Heavy drinking can disrupt relationships and interfere with work, damaging one’s social sphere. The constant ramifications from drinking can easily contribute to depression as well.

Treatment for Co-Disorders

In some cases, removing alcohol from the equation is enough to relieve symptoms of depression. In other cases, therapy, rehabilitation, and medications may be necessary. It is important to note that medication alone will not effectively treat co-occurring depression and addiction. Therapy is required in order to understand what originally contributed to one’s depression/addiction. Gaining a deeper understanding to one’s emotions and history could help prevent a relapse in the future. Additionally, confiding in others and sharing stories of similar nature reminds people that they are not alone in their struggles, fostering a sense of community. With a little bit of help, it is possible to break the dangerous cycle of alcohol and depression.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for depression and/or addiction, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources

https://www.addictioncenter.com/alcohol/alcohol-depression/#:~:text=At%20least%2030%25%2D40,of%20the%20symptoms%20of%20depression.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/addiction-recovery/202102/healing-depression-and-addiction

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/alcohol

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February: Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

By: Julia Massa

Teen dating violence, also known as intimate partner violence or intimate relationship violence, affects one in three teenagers, ages 12 to 19 nationwide. This population is likely to experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from their partner before entering adulthood. The abuse can take many forms including stalking, harassment, or physical or sexual abuse. In fact, 10% of adolescents report being a victim of physical violence prior to experiencing sexual assault or rape. Girls are more vulnerable to experience violence in their relationships and are likely to develop suicidal ideations, eating disorders, or use drugs. In addition, adolescents are likely to carry these behaviors into future relationships.

The month of February signifies the undying efforts to raise awareness for teen dating violence by promoting advocacy and education to younger individuals so that they can notice the red flags and escape potential abuse from a partner. This year’s theme for Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month is “Talk About It,” which encourages younger individuals to participate in conversations differentiating both healthy and unhealthy relationships. It is important to note that this is an issue that affects not only teenagers, but their families, friends, and the community as a whole. Many cases go unreported since victims are hesitant and scared to open up to their family or peers about it.

Safety planning guides, participating in the That’s Not Cool Ambassador Program, attending webinars, supporting youth led projects, and advocating through social media platforms are various ways an individual can spread awareness and enhance their knowledge on ways to help victims notice patterns of abuse. On February 8th, it is encouraged to wear orange to show victims that they have our support and attention. Love is Respect.

If you or someone you know is struggling with being in an abusive relationship, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://youth.gov/feature-article/teen-dating-violence-awareness-and-prevention-month

Image Source:

The Courage to Love Again-The Psychology of Heartbreak

The risk of loving someone is the fact that heartbreak may come one day. It is associated with singlehood, neurotic tendencies, and an anxious/avoidant attachment. After the heartbreak one starts the fear being hurt again or/and you start to believe that there is something about you that makes it impossible for someone to love you properly.

Romantic love activates in the caudate nucleus through dopamine.  Psychologist refer to this part of the brain as the “reward system”, emphasizing the idea that love does trigger emotion but essentially it is more of a motivational state, the motivation to obtain and retain the objects affection. This part of the brain lights up when someone is in love and when someone is a cocaine addict, meaning you are essentially an addict. Getting over your lost love will be tedious but well worth it. Researchers have found that if a person was no longer in love but still in pain from a break up their brain would still be in motivation mode, and expecting a reward. Hence why heartbreak can bring visceral pain, your body is not getting what it wants. The grieving person has numerous neural circuits devoted to the lost person, and each of these has to be brought up and reconstructed to take into account the person’s absence.

Specifically, the pain may be caused by the simultaneous hormonal triggering of the sympathetic activation system (fight-or-flight system that increases the activity of the heart and lungs) and the parasympathetic activation system (rest-and-digest response, social engagement system). It’s like heart’s accelerator and brakes are pushed simultaneously, creating the feeling of heartbreak.

What can help?

  • Give yourself time to grieve and reflect
  • Forgive the other person and yourself
  • Work on rebuilding good feelings about yourself and a life on your own
  • Avoid assumptions that keep you mired in the wreckage of your past relationship
  • Be aware of old relationship patterns
  • Be open to someone who is different
  • Give love time to grow

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy due to heartbreak, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/this_is_your_brain_on_heartbreak

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/complicated-love/202011/love-after-heartbreak

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/complicated-love/202011/love-after-heartbreak

Relationships; How to Recognize a Toxic Relationship

Relationships; How to Recognize a Toxic Relationship

By: Priya Desai

A toxic relationship can be hard to identify, especially when you are in the relationship. There are many instances where the people closest to you will notice first that the relationship you are in is not good for you. Here are signs of a toxic relationship that can help you identify if you are in one.

Signs of a toxic relationship:

  • Lack of trust

When you are in a relationship, both partners should have trust in each other. Trust varies from being loyal to your partner to trusting that they have the best interest in their mind when they are thinking about the relationship. Trust is the foundation of a relationship and without it, it can’t work.

  • Hostile communication

Hostile communication includes verbal abuse and physical abuse. This can be name calling, yelling, constant interruption, or throwing and breaking things.

  • Controlling behaviors

Your partner has no right to control your actions or beliefs. This can include telling you what’s right, secluding you from your closest friends/family, and requiring access to your personal social media accounts and phone.

  • All take, no give

If you feel as if your partner is not doing anything for you, but you are consistently taking orders from him/her, this is another big red flag. This includes always being the first one to text and always being the one to make plans to hang out with your partner. The feelings should be reciprocated all the time.

If you or someone you know is in a toxic relationship, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Citation: https://www.insider.com/toxic-relationship

https://www.healthline.com/health/toxic-relationship

Image Citation : https://www.google.com/search?q=toxic+relationship&sxsrf=AOaemvK-hHlQGKKmgsC6m_XxK_UptZleNA:1631133605274&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=2ahUKEwjX3_2YnvDyAhUaQfEDHao0DBMQ_AUoAXoECAEQAw&biw=794&bih=639#imgrc=TKmtKNeDMzkEOM

Domestic Abuse During Covid-19

Domestic Abuse During Covid-19

By Asha Shetler

During the stay-at-home orders mandated by Covid-19, many of us likely expected that domestic abuse cases would skyrocket. Instead, emergency calls related to domestic abuse dropped in some areas more than 50%. Why? It’s not because domestic abuse is declining (as we hoped) but rather that people feel more unsafe calling emergency numbers, since their abusers are always home with them. Once the stay-at-home orders are lifted, there may be a surge in domestic abuse calls at emergency call centers.

                One in four women and one in ten men experience domestic abuse, whether it’s sexual, psychological, physical, or emotional. Domestic abuse can hit communities of color harder than other communities, as many people in these communities are afraid to call the police on their abuser due to high rates of police brutality. In addition, many victims of domestic abuse may have lost their jobs during the pandemic and/or are financially dependent on their abuser. This makes leaving very hard. To make matters worse, many shelters have closed their doors to people in need, so even if the victim were to leave, they might not have anywhere to go. If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse, get help right away, and if you or someone you know has faced domestic abuse in the past, therapy can be very helpful in healing from these past traumas.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for a victim of abuse or an abuser, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources: https://time.com/5928539/domestic-violence-covid-19/

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2024046

Munchausen’s Syndrome

By Charlotte Arehart

Munchausen’s syndrome is a factitious disorder where the individual continuously pretends to have various ailments and illnesses to seek medical attention for them. There are several other versions of Munchausen’s syndrome, including Munchausen through proxy as well as Munchausen through the internet. Munchausen’s syndrome is a mental illness that often comes along with other mental difficulties such as depression and anxiety.

Since Munchausen’s syndrome is a factitious disorder, it can be difficult to diagnose sometimes. After all, the patient is likely to be lying about their symptoms and illnesses. There are a few things that may hint that a patient has Munchausen’s syndrome, such as inconsistent medical history, constantly changing or unclear symptoms, predictable relapses, extensive medical knowledge, new symptoms after a negative test or undesired test results, symptoms are only present when the patient is being watched or is near people, and seeking treatment in many different places.

Many times in the news we hear about cases of Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy, which is when a caregiver or parent pretends that their child is afflicted by ailments. There are many famous cases of Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy, such as the case of Gypsy Rose Blanchard. In cases of Munchausen’s syndrome by internet, the individual attends online support groups pretending to be afflicted with the struggle that those who are attending the meetings are actually experiencing. This could be either to mock those who are attending, or simply for attention.

It is important that medical staff keeps an eye out for those who may be experiencing Munchausen’s Syndrome, since it can be difficult to spot. Those who are suffering from Munchausen’s Syndrome or Munchausen’s Syndrome by proxy should seek mental health treatment as soon as possible.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Munchausen’s syndrome, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/munchausen-syndrome

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3554979/

https://10faq.com/health/munchausen-syndrome-symptoms/?utm_source=7017173049&utm_campaign=6449781305&utm_medium=78641056298&utm_content=78641056298&utm_term=munchausen%20syndrome&gclid=CjwKCAjwieuGBhAsEiwA1Ly_nQk9C1zizAwKaVlu7DhBKde8bnBOPK7v4QhwG7rYBc-ZZj3av-254BoCzqAQAvD_BwE

Image Source: https://healthproadvice.com/mental-health/An-Understanding-of-Munchausen-Syndrome

Discipline and the Effects of Yelling at a Child

By Katie Weinstein

When it comes to verbal abuse, many people disregard it as a form of abuse because it is not as concrete as physical or sexual abuse, and it is more difficult to draw the line between verbal abuse and scolding. However, the effects of yelling and verbal abuse are just as detrimental and intense as any other type of abuse and can lead to depression and anxiety.

Being yelled at frequently increases the activity of the amygdala, which is the area of the brain that is responsible for emotions. This is because loud noises are signaled to the brain as a warning sign for danger. The amygdala increases stress hormones in the body, which increases muscular tension. These signals tell the body to fight, flight, or freeze, but none of these options are okay when a parent is yelling at a child since it isn’t acceptable to run away from a caregiver or fight them, which leaves the body to be in a stress condition with no purpose or function.  

There are long term effects of yelling at a child frequently since the brain develops neuronal pathways according to our experiences. If the child is conditioned to frequently respond to stressful situations, the child will develop pathways that activate a stress response quickly. Since negative interactions impact a person more than positive interactions, it affects our expectations and self-esteem drastically, especially if the yelling involves name calling, as well as behavior. One might think that yelling would get a child not engage in a specific behavior, but in reality yelling increases bad behavior due to stress and increased aggression as a result of a hyperactive amygdala, which may cause the parent to yell more. Since the child is constantly stressed, they are at risk for mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Additionally, since yelling is not an effective communication style, the child may not learn to properly communicate, which can affect the child’s relationships in the future, leading to more problems down the road.

If you or someone you know is experiencing trauma from verbal abuse please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

https://optimistminds.com/psychological-effects-of-being-yelled-at/

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/February-2018/The-Problem-with-Yelling#:~:text=Being%20frequently%20yelled%20at%20changes,increasing%20muscular%20tension%20and%20more.

https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/effects-of-yelling-at-kids

Kratom Craze

By Charlotte Arehart

If something is legal, that must mean that it’s safe, right? While this would be great to believe, unfortunately it is not true.  An example of something that is not illegal yet but is still unsafe is the drug kratom. Although banned in 6 states, kratom is still legal in the United States. It can easily be purchased at drug stores and even online. Kratom, a psychoactive plant, comes from the leaves of kratom trees that grow in Southeast Asia, where it has traditionally been used for teas and medicines. Only recently has kratom been used frequently in Western societies. Many people praise kratom for alleviating their pain from headaches or even bad knees. However, kratom comes with some not-so-great side effects, and some that are quite aversive.

Low doses of kratom seem very beneficial. Users may experience increased energy, lower pain levels, and feelings of relaxation. However, continued consistent use of kratom or large doses of kratom pose some serious side effects. And since kratom is so addictive, it is easy for users to work their way up to this point. Users may begin to hallucinate, become depressed, have seizures, enter comas, or even die when mixing kratom with other substances. There have been many deaths recorded because of kratom usage with other substances like alcohol. One user on WebMD begs others to be wary of kratom, stating that their family member died from a third seizure caused by the drug. Another user warned of the addictive effects of the drug, saying that kratom advocates downplay the withdrawal symptoms to be similar to caffeine withdrawal when in reality it is more like “full on opioid withdrawal” symptoms. Since kratom has a very similar chemical reaction in the body as opioid drugs, it makes sense that the withdrawal symptoms would be very similar. Other users have stated that while the drug may be efficient in alleviating pain, the dependency that comes with the drug is not worth it.

Even though kratom is not illegal, there is no such thing as a “good” addiction. If you or someone you know is facing a kratom addiction, there are ways to get help. It is important that anyone who is facing a kratom addiction seeks therapy as soon as possible, before it is too late.

If you or someone you know needs substance abuse support, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/kratom/art-20402171

https://www.healthline.com/health/kratom-and-alcohol#effects

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657101/

Image Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/kratom-and-alcohol

Increased Drug and Alcohol Use during the Stay at Home Order

By Eleanor Kim

The Coronavirus pandemic has left the whole world isolated with very little to do aside from school or work. As the stay at home orders continue, individuals have been forced to find other means of coping or simply passing the time. Some individuals have found coping mechanisms that have ignited newfound purpose during such bleak times; however, others have embarked on less than beneficial pastimes, turning to drugs and alcohol as a means of “getting through” the pandemic. Cases of substance use disorder, or SUD, have skyrocketed since the official declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic with cases of patients who have experienced overdoses and other complications related to substance abuse increasing as well. In a recent survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 13.3% of respondents stated that they have either started or increased substance use in order to cope with the stress and emotions caused by COVID-19 and the subsequent national emergency. With the world in such an unstable and worrisome state, it is not surprising to see individuals seek comfort in any way that they can, especially as those individuals face new and or preexisting stressors and anxieties through isolation.

As the pandemic continues, the surging mental health and substance abuse epidemics have shown to go hand in hand with one another. In fact, throughout the pandemic, there has been a 62% increase in worry, a 51% increase in sadness, a 51% increase in fear, and a 42% increase in loneliness. It was also revealed that within the past year, there has been a 32% increase for non-prescribed fentanyl, a 20% increase for methamphetamine, a 12.5% increase for heroine, a 10% increase for cocaine, as well as an 18% increase in suspected drug overdoses. These increases have not gone unnoticed. Those that already struggled with substance abuse or other mental health disorders have found stay at home orders increasingly difficult given the limited access to their usual treatment and support groups. Those who wish to begin receiving professional help with their substance use have had harder times finding adequate care given the decrease in in- and out-patient support and treatment over the past year. These limitations have fed into the increases in mental health struggles and SUD cases, leaving those who have been affected feeling desperate and out of control.

Substance abuse is not the answer to these difficult and isolating times. There is still hope for those who wish to seek other, more benevolent means of coping with the pandemic and for those who wish to begin treatment for their substance use disorder. Telehealth is one way that individuals with SUD, or other destructive coping mechanisms, can begin receiving professional help and therapy. Counselors and therapists are available to talk with you or anyone you know who may be dealing with substance use disorders during this time.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Resources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/09/addressing-unique-challenges-covid-19-people-in-recovery

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7219362/

https://www.ehstoday.com/covid19/article/21139889/drug-abuse-on-the-rise-because-of-the-coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm

Image Source:

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/covid-crisis-exacerbating-lgbtq-alcohol-abuse-studies-find-n1257008