No doubt, the Corona-Virus pandemic has impacted the mental and physical health of Americans. It is evident by the drinking habits of those who are stressed, bored, angry, lonely at home as well as those who are employed in the workplace. Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and an employee trends expert, points to a new study that shows that almost 50% of American workers report alcohol and substance abuses, more than doubled since 2019.
Women Are Particularly Prone To Drinking Heavily
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association states that there was a 14% increase in alcohol consumption compared to the year before, with a 17% increase for women. Alcoholic liver disease and alcoholic hepatitis are sharply rising among young women in their 20’s and 30’s, according to Dr. Jessica Mellinger, a liver specialist. The statistics are 30% higher than the previous year. Heavy drinking increased by 41%.
Happy Hours Can Start Before 5 p.m. When You’re in Lockdown
- In states like Florida, liquor stores are deemed “essential” businesses and consequently stay open. They even deliver! You can have your “quarantinis” at home while you chat with your friends online and not worry about driving afterwards. The studies prove the increase in alcohol consumption: Nielsen found a 54% increase in alcohol sales during the week ending March 21, 2020, over the same week in 2019. Online sales during the same period jumped 262% from 2019.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month
With the Corona Virus, one would think that we need this public awareness more than ever! The theme this year is “Changing Attitudes : It’s not a ‘rite of Passage!’ Sponsored by the National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month is a yearly happening to increase awareness and understanding of the causes and treatment of the nation’s #1 public health problem. 5,000 youth, under the age of 21, die yearly because of drinking too much.
To reduce unhealthy drinking, consider this guideline for consumption:
- Excessive alcohol use is defined as more than 1 drink per day for women (women metabolize alcohol differently than men). For men, it is 2 drinks.
- A drink is measured as 12 oz. beer, 5 oz. of wine, and 1 shot of liquor or spirits.
- Binge drinking involves 4 drinks in 2 hrs. for women, 5 drinks in 2 hrs. for men.
Consider these harmful effects:
- Downing too much alcohol could reduce your immune system’s ability to fight off infectious diseases such as the Corona Virus.
- Cirrhosis of the liver causes permanent scarring.
- If your body has become used to the continual presence of alcohol, stopping suddenly can cause physical effects such as sweating, nausea, headaches and trouble sleeping. This could signal an alcohol dependence.
- If you “Try to Go Dry” on weekends only, you can gauge the effect of the alcohol-free days. Do you sleep better? 62% who abstain from alcohol report sleeping better and 49% cited a weight loss.
These Suggestions From Addiction Specialist, Kamala Greene Genece, Ph.D.
- Think about why you drink.
- When you do drink, be mindful of the amount. See above guideline.
- Reprogram your day. Replace your happy hour with another activity such as walking.
- Connection is key if you are abusing alcohol. Seek out support. AA and Smart Recovery have meetings online.
April is also National Stress Awareness Month. Hmmm. possible that Alcohol Awareness is related to Stress?
Wesley Cullen Davidson
Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting. Currently, she is targeting her writing about recovery to parents whose children have substance abuse disorders.