• Drinking More to Cope During COVID

      Hedblom, Lawrence (2021-09)
      It’s useful to realize that drinking is an integral part of our culture. In normal circumstances, about 70% of adults will report drinking alcohol in the past year and 55% in the past month, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health in 2019. Further, about 25% report binge drinking in the last month which is defined as four or more drinks in a two-hour period for women and five or more for men. And drinking comes with a high health cost. "An estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol- related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States," according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Increased drinking during Covid has been reported in different studies. A Kaiser Family Foundation study reports a 13% increase for all adults (and 25% among younger adults). Two other surveys -- one conducted by the American Psychological Association and another by Blue Cross Blue Shield -- found that almost 25% of adults reported drinking more to manage pandemic stress. According to the NIH, reasons for drinking more included increased stress (46%), increased alcohol availability (34%), and boredom (30%). Participants who reported being stressed by the pandemic consumed more drinks over a greater number of days.