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May 19, 2022
As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to loosen its grip on the daily lives of Americans, new research is beginning to show how much more havoc it wreaked on the country with its far-reaching effects.
The American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey was recently published, and showed a bleak trend of rising alcohol use during COVID-19. The new study reveals an alarming 25 percent uptick in alcohol-related deaths in the United States since the onset of COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdown. Overall, 23 percent of adults in the US reported drinking more alcohol during the pandemic to cope with stress.
The increase in alcohol use persisted throughout the height of the pandemic. APA’s first pandemic-era anniversary survey “found COVID-19-related stress was associated with unhealthy weight gains and increased drinking. These unhealthy behaviors have persisted through the second year of the pandemic, suggesting that coping mechanisms have become entrenched—and mental and physical health is on a continuing decline for many as a result.”
The amount of alcohol consumed per person, per week also increased. “Adults who said they have been drinking more alcohol to cope with stress reported consuming an average of 10 drinks per week (and a median of six drinks per week), compared with an average of two drinks (and a median of one drink) per week among those who did not report drinking more,” said the survey.
Factors like having no serving limitations on themselves during lockdown and no one to hold them accountable if they drank too much were part of the increase, but the fear and stress placed on individuals in the midst of a global crisis was a major component in the increase in alcohol consumption and alcohol-related death.
“Social isolation, along with fear of the unknown, have always been major triggers for our patients,” Anusha Chandrakanthan, a psychiatrist at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center told ABC News.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CNN