American Drinking Statistics Altered by Pandemic Impact with Marked Increase in Alcohol Abuse in the United States
June 23, 2022
Several studies have suggested Americans are buying more alcohol and drinking more frequently during the pandemic.
Any level of alcohol consumption can negatively impact your personal or work life, your own health, or the health of others.
New data shows that during the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol consumption increased sharply among American adults, especially women.
Drinking Statistics from the Recent Pandemic Point To the Impact of Stress on Alcohol Intake. American Drinking Statistics Altered From Pandemic Alcohol Use.
Alcohol policy experts have identified two ways that COVID-19 might impact alcohol consumption causing pandemic drinking:
American Drinking Statistics
In 2019, of the 85,688 liver disease deaths among individuals ages 12 and older, 43.1% involved alcohol. Among males, 53,486 liver disease deaths occurred, and 45.6% involved alcohol. Among females, 32,202 liver disease deaths occurred, and 39.0% involved alcohol.
Among all cirrhosis deaths in 2015, 49.5% were alcohol-related. The proportion of alcohol-related cirrhosis deaths was highest (76.8%) among people ages 25 to 34, followed by people ages 35 to 44, at 72.7%.
Alcohol is a factor in the deaths of thousands of people younger than age 21 in the United States each year. This includes:
1,092 from motor vehicle crashes
1,000 from homicides
208 from alcohol overdose, falls, burns, and drowning
596 from suicides.
In 2020, a total of 2042 death certificates listed alcohol and COVID-19 as causes (1475 listed COVID-19 as the underlying cause, and 323 listed alcohol as the underlying cause).
Were People Drinking More During the recent Pandemic?
During the seven weeks between March 1 and April 18, 2020, there were significant increases in alcohol sales in the U.S. Data. The week ending March 21 indicated that alcohol sales for off-premise locations (e.g., liquor stores) had increased by 54%. In addition, online alcohol sales had risen by 262% compared to sales data from the same week in 2019.
Although the increases in alcohol sales did not remain at these levels, comprehensive data for that period showed that in-store purchases were up by 21% and online alcohol sales by 234% compared to 2019. However, it is unclear whether individuals had been increasing their alcohol consumption or only stockpiling alcoholic beverages.
Alcohol use and related harms may increase due to stress triggered by “financial difficulties, social isolation, and uncertainty about the future”; or Alcohol use and related harms may decrease due to restrictions on the “physical and financial availability (i.e., affordability)” of alcohol. Consequently, alcohol use disorder in the U.S. appears to have worsened since the onset of COVID-19. The recent COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything most living people have ever seen. Limited resources and stay-at-home orders have brought all-new challenges to everyday life. For those who are trying to maintain sobriety, the changes are greater and more bountiful.
Pandemics such as COVID-19 can cause many medical, psychological, and sociological problems, including increased alcohol consumption and related harms from such consumption. Alcohol is a harmful substance, and is, in fact, currently the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. Excessive drinking has also been associated with increased violence, crime, poverty, sexually transmitted diseases, and other significant public health harms.
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every family across the country and will likely have a long-lasting impact on public health and well-being. Alcohol misuse is already a public health concern in the United States, with dramatic increases in emergency department visits and alcohol-related deaths observed in recent years. Alcohol has the potential to further complicate the COVID-19 pandemic in multiple ways.
First, one must consider the effects of pandemic drinking on the immune system. Alcohol misuse both activates the immune system, causing inflammation, and interferes with the body’s immune response to viral and bacterial infections. In the lungs, excessive alcohol damages epithelial cells that line the lung surface and is associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Ultimately, impaired immune system function and increased susceptibility to respiratory illness could contribute to more severe COVID-19 and a greater risk of mortality.
Yes, withdrawal and drug overdose can be deadly, but it doesn’t have to be. Have a plan in place and utilize the resources available in one's community. Drug-related deaths are
Excessive alcohol consumption may not only influence COVID-19 susceptibility and severity, but the broad effects of the pandemic are also likely to lead to excessive alcohol consumption.
How to Cope Without Alcohol
In order to succeed and stay sober during the pandemic, one needs to be dedicated, determined, skilled, and have the necessary tools. Here are the 10 tips ] to cope without alcohol and end the pandemic drinking.
1. Slow & Steady Wins the Race
Pretty much everyone is trying to adjust to a new pace. Just remember that adjustment takes time. Take it easy and as a society and get through this together.
2. Making Up For Lost Time With Family & Friends
Social distancing does not mean that one cannot connect with their friends and family. Healing damaged relationships means reaching out to loved ones. Although one may not be able to go to their home, there are still ways to connect. Make a phone call, Facetime, or mail a handwritten letter. These actions can go a long way to showing care and illustrate the effort put forward the best effort possible. Loved ones will be happy to hear about family members sobriety and will support each other, even if from afar.
3. Following A Daily Routine
Routine is not just a part of sobriety, but it is a part of maintaining an overall healthy life. Creating a healthy routine is particularly difficult when the whole world is disrupted. Start by setting an alarm and still getting up at the same time every day. Sleeping in sounds nice, but a poor sleep pattern can promote physical and mental health issues. Create a workspace and accomplish set tasks every day. Create times for business and times for play. Make walks or running a part of a day-to-day routine so that fresh air and regular exercise is part of a healthy regimen.
4. Relax, But Don’t Over Relax
Creating time to sit back and relax is always important. If a person is considered an essential worker and must travel for work, then finding time to relax may be difficult. The combined stress of staying sober and a pandemic can take a toll on an individual, and being out in public more often creates an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
Relaxing a little each day or even taking a minute here and there for deep breathing exercises can go a long way in reducing stress. Reducing stress means creating space for a clear mind and a sober life. On the other end, if an individual is out of work or working remotely, free time may be in an abundance. Do not abuse this and end up relaxing to the point that nothing really gets done.
5. Find A New Job Or Activity
Despite rising unemployment and stay-at-home orders, there is no shortage of activities to keep us all busy. If a person absolutely needs to work, businesses like grocery stores and delivery companies are hiring across the country. If an individual is not looking for a job, but needs something to fill up their spare time, there are countless sobers activities to consider.
6. Stay In Touch With a Support System
Social isolation is only referring to physical isolation, and in no way limits phone calls, video chatting, and emails. If one's local support group meeting (such as a 12 steps meeting) hasn’t yet, encourage them to switch to group video chat sessions so that one can keep that routine!
7. Eat A Health – Balances Diet
A well-balanced diet can help improve a person's appearance, energy levels, immunity, and overall state of their health. If a person is worried about going out to buy groceries and exposing themselves, consider a delivery service such as Instacart, or Prime Now. Get all of the fruits and vegetables delivered right to the home or office front door so that keeping up with healthy nutrition becomes a means of supporting a sober lifestyle.
8. Sleep An Appropriate Amount
Everyone may require a slightly different amount of sleep, but getting between 7-9 hours every night is relatively standard. Encourage the body to go to sleep at a reasonable time every night by laying down and resting at least 30 minutes before wanting to be asleep. End the night with some lavender essential oils or a cup of camomile tea. Try not to watch tv in bed as this may confuse the body's rhythms. Set alarms and wake up at the same time every morning as a part of a routine. Sleeping in is nice, but where the body falls too far out of a routine it can affect both mental and physical health.
9. Make Self-Care A Priority
Hygiene and self-care tend to become less of a priority when addiction takes over. When one is not interacting with people during this pandemic, it can be easy to continue overlooking daily showers or fresh clothes every day. However, practicing proper self-care is an important part of recovery and overall wellness.
10. Set New Goals
The goals set for sobriety may not be reasonable during a pandemic. For instance, making it to work every day is not possible if an individual is laid off due to a health crisis like the COVID outbreak. Simple adjustments can be made to make health goals reasonable and achievable.
Understand that this time is difficult for everyone, but especially for those who are fighting a disease like addiction. Just know that no one need be alone and that maintaining sobriety is possible. Re-adjust routines and make the most of each situation. Stay positive and stay sober!
Concerned About Alcohol Abuse?
Sometimes people may struggle with their pandemic drinking. Below are some questions to ask yourself or loved ones to see if they might benefit from more support around alcohol use.
In the past year, have there been :
Times wherein it was common to end up drinking more or longer than intended?
Wanted to cut down or stop drinking on several occasions, or tried to, but could not?
Spent a lot of time drinking, being sick, or getting over hangovers?
Experienced cravings — a strong need or urge to drink?
Found that drinking or being sick from drinking often interfered with taking care of home or family, caused job troubles, or school problems?
Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with the family or friends?
Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting or gave one pleasure, in order to drink?
Gotten into situations, while or shortly after drinking, that increased the chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, or walking in a dangerous area) more than once?
Continued to drink even though it resulted in a depressed, anxious state, or added to another health problem? Or after having a memory blackout?
Had to drink much more than before. But, did to get the effect wanted or found that the usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
Found that, when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea or sweating, or other sensed things appeared that was not there before?
If the above questions were answered yes to one or more questions, most people will benefit from additional support for alcohol use.
The stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may negatively affect one's relationship with alcohol. People may even notice a worsening of existing challenges with alcohol use. In addition, it may be more alarming for anyone dealing with the effects of the pandemic in multiple parts of their life or who may have already been navigating major stressors before the pandemic.
It is OK to seek support for pandemic drinking. Being mindful of the relationship with alcohol can help decide the safest way to drink. When a person thinks drinking alcohol negatively affects their life, talk to someone trustworthy, such as a close friend, family member, mental health professional, or medical provider.
If self-isolating, why not do it in a place where a person's sobriety will be supported and there is also quick access to medical professionals. Accredited detox and rehab facilities might actually be the safest place for someone with a substance use disorder right now. The facilities are cleaned and sanitized regularly and clients are closely monitored so any symptoms would be caught early.
"Yes, quitting alcohol can be hard, but it's possible. Have a plan in place and utilize the resources available in the local community. Don't wait, get help today. " Stated Alexandra Krotkevich, CEO of the WeLevelUp treatment center network.
About We Level Up Treatment Centers
WeLevelUp treatment tailors the program to the individual and their individual plan to the program. Behavioral health professionals begin by evaluating our client’s history of cognitive health, drugs, and alcohol-related past. The needs of each patient are detailed and personalized because that's how clients and families can obtain complete support for anyone suffering from drug & alcohol addiction and other mental health issues. A supportive environment is created accordingly to give patients 24-hour care. Whenever there is a need for someone to talk to about treatment options to suit personal situations, why not get professional help?
WeLevelUp is a renowned treatment center that applies evidence-based treatment modalities along with holistic programs to improve client recovery outcomes. Combining traditional elements of SUD treatment, including supervised medical detox recovery coupled with intensive behavioral rehab. Offering cutting-edge advanced therapies, WeLevelUp is an accredited dual diagnosis drug and alcohol addiction and mental health care provider. Fully integrating co-occurring conditions into their programs, they provide a world-class comprehensive continuum of care through each stage of the treatment process. Their top-notch doctors, therapists, and counselors leverage the power of science to help clients succeed in rehab recovery.
We Level Up treatment center network locations include:
1. WeLevelUp New Jersey detox facility
2. WeLevelUp Florida treatment center
3. WeLevelUp Fort Lauderdale depression center
4. WeLevelUp Tamarac rehab center
5. WeLevelUp Boca Raton treatment center admissions office
6. WeLevelUp California rehab center
Level Up's treatment centers coming soon locations are to include:
7. WeLevelUp Washington behavioral health center
WeLevelUp provides best-in-class treatment in multiple locations, with amenities and activities designed to reinforce recovery success metrics. Each client receives lifetime alumni support post inpatient treatment along with family resources to help maintain recovery momentum, even once they depart their treatment facilities. Their teams of highly trained professionals are dedicated to each client’s success.
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