The coronavirus pandemic brought a myriad of problems including excessive alcohol consumption and several mental health issues. Many people in the US started drinking alcohol excessively to cope with the problems during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Doctors suggest that drinking alcohol to avoid stress can have major side effects, particularly during a pandemic.
This article was published recently in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
The article suggests various methods to reduce alcohol consumption during this time and effective ways to cope with stress. Data shows that more people start alcohol consumption after a stressful event. According to research in the US, people increase drinking after terrorist attacks in the country. These habits often lead to addiction and cause adverse effects on health.
The coronavirus pandemic caused multiple stressors over the past year which led many people to start excessive drinking. This virus caused trauma to hundreds and thousands of families and life long complications in millions of individuals. The pandemic also affected the economy, social life, employment, health care facilities, and family relationships. People spent months away from their friends and family in isolation which poorly impacted their mental and physical health.
According to various resources, the drinking problem increased in the US way before the pandemic. This pattern was particularly prominent among American females. However, recent data suggests that more people got into excessive drinking once the coronavirus pandemic started. Australia and the UK also show similar data to the US.
Excessive alcohol consumption not only affects mental health but physical health as well. Alcohol consumption leads to various health issues including livers disease, heart conditions, cancer risk and worsens the immune response. Also, this habit causes several mental health disorders including depression and anxiety that surged during the coronavirus outbreak.
Many activities can release stress other than excessive alcohol consumption. There are several support groups that help give up this habit and support through the journey of reducing alcohol intake. Several interventions can also prove effective in reducing the use of alcohol. This study sheds light on various methods to get rid of excessive consumption of alcohol including interventions and clinical services. Some people might require medical-grade help with the use of medications to get rid of this habit.
The authors of this study suggest that the regulations in healthcare can help improve the condition of people living with alcohol use disorder. They also advise to run campaigns and to raise awareness about the potential harms of drinking excessively during the coronavirus pandemic. The health officials should also screen every individual for alcohol content and give the advice to cope with the stress during these times.
The authors also mention that health insurance should cover the treatment costs of people. Piling on the medical debt can lead to excessive stress and many people use alcohol to cope with such situations. This harms their mental and physical health as well. However, if health insurance covers these aspects, people are less likely to fall prey to this habit under stressful conditions.