Health Alcohol, tobacco ... Why do addictive practices swell with...

Alcohol, tobacco … Why do addictive practices swell with containment?

The “coronapéro” has the wind in its sails but beware of addictions, favored by confinement. – UGO AMEZ / SIPA

  • According to an Odoxa survey for GAE * revealed by 20 minutes, the French consume more psychoactive products (alcohol, cannabis, psychotropic drugs, tobacco …) since confinement.
  • Addictive behavioral practices (video games, excessive consultation of social networks, eating disorders, etc.) are also on the rise.

A small glass of wine in the evening, a few more cigarettes, a more marked tendency to snack. Since the start of confinement on March 17, the French have adopted new habits that are rather harmful for their physical and mental health. This is clearly shown by an Odoxa survey for GAE Conseil * on addictive behavior during confinement, revealed exclusively by 20 minutes. “This study was carried out during the third week of confinement and it already shows a growth in addictive practices. And since the confinement will continue
 at least until May 11, we can fear a worsening of the phenomenon “, alerte Alexis Peschard, addictologist and president of the GAE consulting firm.

Under house arrest, the French first curled up on the screens. Because more than one in two French people say they have increased their screen consumption (to watch movies, consult social networks or play video games). “However, the more we expose ourselves to the screens, the more the habit becomes established and the less we will find pleasure in it. What will push us to spend more time on it to try to find the initial satisfaction that we found there. With the risk, in the end, of isolating yourself even more from others, experiencing mood disorders and suffering from sleep disorders, “explains Alexis Peschard.

“The meal is like a reward”

By staying at home, the French are also more likely to open the fridge. In fact, 19% of them admit more overeating than usual, even though their energy costs have dropped. A bad habit that mainly affects women aged 18 to 34. “The sources of satisfaction being reduced at the moment, the meal is like a reward, which explains the fact that people have more fun. In addition, the confinement disturbing the temporal spatial reference points, some people no longer make real meals and snack all day long, “observes Alexis Peschard.

For smokers, staying at home seems conducive to having a cigarette break more often. Because 27% of smokers increased their consumption. “Usually when you work, you have to go out to smoke, which helps to limit consumption a little. There, teleworkers let go more on cigarettes. And ex-smokers relapsed during confinement, “says Alexis Peschard. The same goes for cannabis smokers, since one in four has increased their consumption.

“The slightest requirement with themselves also explains the increase in their behavior”

Drinking is also more common, since 5 and a half million French people have increased their consumption of alcohol, especially CSP + “All the more so as Skype aperitifs have created a new form of solicitation. And that no colleague is there to see that we are having a brunch lunch, “notes Alexis Peschard. Psychotropic drugs are also not spared from this phenomenon, because 22% of people who were already taking it before confinement increased their consumption of sleeping pills or anxiolytics. “These people are looking for the solution in these drugs that they cannot find naturally to soothe themselves,” comments Alexis Peschard. Among the reasons cited to explain this change in their behavior, 60% of French people cite boredom, 55% loss of bearings, 50% anxiety about the epidemic, 42% their concern for their future professional… “The slightest requirement with themselves also explains the increase in their behavior. Getting up early to go to work, to wash, to take care of yourself, to motivate yourself to play sports… All these good habits are thwarted by confinement ”, underlines Alexis Peschard.

And no category of person seems to be spared by the phenomenon: “Usually, the unemployed are the category most at risk concerning addictive practices. But the latter are also observed among people who continue to work on site because they have often overflowed, by teleworkers who are exhausted over time, for people on partial unemployment who are afraid that this is the first step before dismissal “Analyzes Alexis Peschard.

“Upon their return to business, many employees will not be unscathed”

It remains to be seen whether there are ways to combat the skyrocketing of these addictive practices. The French seem to be alone against their demons, because 50% of them believe that their employer is not taking action to prevent addiction at present. Ditto for insurance and mutuals, taxed inaction on the subject by 47% of French people. However, companies would be wrong to ignore the subject: “Even in a period of confinement, the employer is bound to an obligation of protection with regard to his employees, by ensuring their physical and mental health”, recalls the Social law lawyer specializing in occupational health and safety Jamila El Berry. And according to Alexis Peschard, companies can try to identify people prey to addictive practices. In particular by focusing on local managers: “When they make video conferences with their teams, they can identify changes in the behavior of their employees: those who are suddenly uninhibited, those who are overactive, aggressive, withdrawn or adopting an avoidance strategy, ”he says. “Particular attention must be paid to at-risk employees (people who are alone, without prior teleworking, or who have a liability linked to addictive behavior),” adds Jamila El Berry.

“After having identified these weak signals, they can send them back to occupational medicine, which will take over,” explains Jamila El Berry. Other tools can help employees who have addictive practices: “Like hotlines specializing in addictology who can provide remote support, while respecting the anonymity of the employee,” he said. The worst thing would be for an employer to deny the problem: “because when they return to work, many employees will not be unscathed. And if help has not been given to people with problematic addictive practices, the case of some could worsen and lead to sick leave, “warns Alexis Peschard.

* Survey carried out by Odoxa on GAE Conseil on a sample of 1,003 people representative of the French population and interviewed by Internet on April 8 and 9, 2020.



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