Drinking Too Much During the Pandemic?

FRIDAY, February 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Researchers warn that the stress caused by the epidemic may be driving some people to return to the bottle more often.

This is particularly problematic for people who live in areas with homestay orders, especially young adults, men, and those who have lost their jobs.

“Being in isolation has been difficult for everyone during a worldwide pandemic, and many people rely on greater amounts of alcohol to alleviate their distress,” said William “Scott” Killgore, professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona School of Medicine. Director of the University’s Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory.

“We found that young people were most susceptible to increased alcohol use during the epidemic, which could put them on a dangerous path towards long-term alcohol addiction,” a university newsletter said.

Killgore’s team conducted a six-month study from April to September, examining nearly 6,000 adults from all 50 states and Washington, DC. Approximately 1,000 people each month completed the Test for Identifying Alcohol Use Disorders, a 10-item questionnaire that detects dangerous drinking in adults.

Questions asked about the amount of alcohol consumed, addiction-related behaviors and harms caused by alcohol use. Scores range from 0 to 40. A score of 8 to 14 indicates dangerous alcohol consumption, 15 or more likelihood of alcohol abuse, and 20 or more a severe alcohol use disorder.

Percentages remained the same for people not under lockdown restrictions.

But for those in isolation, dangerous alcohol use rose from 21% in April to 40.7% in September, and possible addiction rose from about 8% to just over 29%. Severe addiction increased from about 4% in April to 17.4% in September. For those on lockdown, dangerous alcohol use and possible addiction increased every month, compared to those who were not under restrictions.

Increased alcohol use can lead to a number of health problems, including an increased risk of cancer, liver disease, injury, mental health problems, and premature death. This could be an issue for the whole family, the researchers said.

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