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New study shows steep increase in alcohol consumption amid pandemic

New study shows steep increase in alcohol consumption amid pandemic
Posted at 7:18 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-06 00:29:21-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — New data is revealing staggering statistics in regards to alcohol consumption during the pandemic.

University of Arizona researcher William Killgore says alcohol use increased by up to 400% in one category, within the first six months of the pandemic.

Killgore is a Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, Medical Imaging, & BIO5 Institute at UArizona.

He says the increase in alcohol consumption to cope with the stress of the pandemic is making the ongoing health crisis worse.

“One drink turns into two, into three, into four, and you’re no longer at moderate drinking anymore,” he told KGUN9.

Killgore says from April to September of 2020 alcohol consumption skyrocketed including with morning drinking.

“People were around 5%-10% likely to be doing that were now up to a rate of about 43 percent,” Killgore added.

The study also explores three categories and found a steep increase in all of them.

“Problematic drinking or hazardous alcohol use doubled during the early course of the pandemic. If we move up a notch. This is probably alcohol dependence. We found that 300%, a tripling of the number of people who fell in that range. Now if we go to the very extreme end, these are people that are severe alcohol dependents. We saw that the rates increased about 400 percent,” he said.

Killgore says this may be because people don’t have their normal outlets. These are some of the effects of binge drinking:

“It increases, you know, the rates of liver disease. Cancers increase. All cause mortality. You see higher rates of depression and higher rates of anxiety and there’s an increased likelihood of domestic abuse,” he told KGUN9.

Killgore says with time, your brain will also begin to change.

“Where the brain feels like it needs the alcohol and so you don’t feel normal until you start getting that level of alcohol...but it’s actually becoming toxic to you” he stated.

He says this can lead to an addiction.

Killfore says in this study people who left home for work pre-pandemic were affected the most. Those who stayed home or were retired didn’t see much of a difference.

“The changing of routine has really affected a lot of people,” Killgore told KGUN9.

Though he assures there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

“If I look at some of the data preliminarily, it looks like things have leveled off. So we’re not continuing just to show that steep incline. I think now that the pandemic is slowing down is slowing down a little bit,” he told KGUN9.