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More People Resorting to Drinking Alcohol to Cope with COVID-19

Health Official Warns Such Temporary Relief Often Results in Serious Health Issues

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the lives of people across America, many are resorting to drinking alcohol in an attempt to ease the mental anguish they are experiencing, and that can result in serious health issues, a health official warns.

 According to a Nielsen report, sales of at-home alcohol have grown by nearly 27% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting people are using alcohol in an attempt to cope with a crisis that the coronavirus pandemic has on people’s lives both at home and globally.

Dr. Kimberly Petrick, a family practice physician with Kaiser Permanente Southern California, warns against using alcohol for temporary relief, noting a person’s mental state may actually worsen after the buzz has faded.

“If you attempt to use alcohol to dampen emotional sadness, you’re likely to feel worse once the buzz is gone, and that will likely motivate you to drink again,” she said, “Drinking is not solution that is safe or lasting for any mental health strains many people are experiencing today because of  the pandemic.”

Dr. Petrick noted that excessive alcohol use is linked to liver damage, as well as liver, breast and colon cancer. “Excessive drinking can also damage your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to COVID-19 and can cause other health complications,” Dr. Petrick warned.

The World Health Organization states that alcohol consumption contributes to more than 3 million deaths worldwide each year. U.S. dietary guidelines recommend no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.

Dr. Petrick recommended that people do other activities when feeling down, especially when feeling isolated. “Step outdoors, go for a walk and get some fresh air,” she noted. “ Also, it’s important to eat a healthy diet and turn off the news, your laptop and social media from time to time to take a break and relieve some of that anxiety or stress you may be experiencing.”

Dr. Petrick urged anyone experiencing severe depression or other mental health issues to contact their health care provider. “Good mental health is critically important for your body to function properly,” she noted. “But, drinking alcohol to soothe your mind is definitely not recommended!”

 

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