COVID-19 Pandemic Causes Increase in Alcohol Consumption
Since the pandemic first started in the country, many people have felt as though life has been out of control. As such, it has been the reason why many Americans have turned to alcohol instead of getting the help they need. Various changes in the economy such as quarantines, unemployment, homeschooling, and economic protests have all contributed to having people on edge, thus increasing their need for alcohol.
How Alcohol Use Has Changed
From 2019 to 2020, online alcohol sales have increased by 262%. Moreover, a total increase of 54% in national alcohol sales just in the week ending on the 21st of March compared to the previous year. According to an April 2020 poll where 2,200 U.S. adults participated, 16% admitted that they started drinking more when the pandemic started.
What is excessive drinking and how harmful is it? Unfortunately, it might be more harmful than people realize. Heavy drinking (also known as excessive drinking) is considered to be any amount over 3 drinks a day for women and 4 or more alcoholic drinks a day for men. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), excessive drinking may cause:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Breast cancer
- Heart attack
- Liver disease
- High blood pressure
According to a professor of nursing and a senior associate dean for research at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Mariann Piano, those who are alcohol dependent are at higher risk of having a compromised immune system. As a result, drinking too much alcohol will decrease the body’s ability to fight diseases such as COVID-19. The more alcohol an individual consumes, the lower their immune system will become, which will put them more at risk of catching the virus.
Healthy Alternatives to Alcohol Use
While people find alcohol to be a quick, yet temporary, solution to their problems, it’s important to remember that it is unhealthy. There are plenty of other options that can help people throughout their daily struggles and uncertainties as they face the days ahead. Some of these healthier options include:
- Walking outdoors
- Deep breathing
- Staying active
- Getting enough sleep
- Video calls with family and friends
- Eating healthy foods
Even if the pandemic was a source of stress and anxiety for many people throughout the past few years, we must remember that it doesn’t control how a person reacts to the obstacles and challenges thrown at them. While living in the new norm is easier said than done, there are plenty of ways to keep the mind and body healthy. The support of family and friends is also a great source of strength for anyone who may need help through these tough times.
Get Help for Alcohol Abuse at a Center Near You
Many have been battling alcoholism for years, while others may fail and relapse now and then. There is good news — you are not alone. Even if being in quarantine and practicing social distancing makes you feel isolated, we’re here to listen. If you or someone you know needs help, contact Brookdale today, where your insurance may cover most, if not all the costs associated with your treatment with us.