University of Utah Warns of Stress Drinking During Pandemic

Healthcare Experts Discuss the Effects of Stress Drinking Because of COVID-19

In a recent interview with the University of Utah Health, Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to stress drinking. According to the transcript, there has been a “50% increase in the sales of alcohol from one week in March of the coronavirus compared to a week the same year ago.” The doctor notes that alcohol has long been used to self-medicate during stressful times. During the pandemic and subsequent shutdown there are countless stresses including the potential health risk and financial uncertainties. Unfortunately, when alcohol is used to deal with stress it can add new problems. As noted, “Alcohol increases the risk of conflict and domestic violence.” It can also interfere with a person’s sleep and it can alter a person’s judgment. The doctor recommends doing a personal check-in to determine if you are struggling with alcohol during the pandemic. Listen to the interview or read the full transcript on “Stress Drinking: Alcohol Consumption Increases During COVID-19.”

It is important to understand that using alcohol to self-medicate can be extremely detrimental to your health particularly during stressful situations. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism alcohol can:

  • affect coordination
  • cause changes in mood or behavior
  • damage the heart
  • cause an irregular heartbeat
  • lead to high blood pressure
  • result in stroke
  • cause liver damage
  • lead to inflammation of the pancreas
  • increase your risk of cancer
  • weaken your immune system

It is imperative to reach out for help if you believe that you are struggling with alcohol or are finding yourself turning to alcohol to ease the stress and anxiety of the pandemic.