Addiction specialists are concerned the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to an increase in harmful drinking, The New York Times reports.
“I expect we’re going to see pretty significant increases in what I call unhealthy alcohol use, which means drinking above recommended limits,” said Dr. Sarah Wakeman, an addiction medicine doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “It will be pretty unlikely for someone who has never tried alcohol before to start drinking for the first time and immediately develop an alcohol use disorder. I would see this as a risk more in people who are already drinking and then their alcohol use escalates.”
She advised people to seek help if family and friends express concerns about their alcohol use, if they want to drink even if alcohol use causes problems, or if their drinking gets in the way of daily responsibilities such as childcare or working.
A study published in the Asian Journal of Psychiatry last month found a large jump in the number of people in China who reported harmful drinking while they were in isolation because of the pandemic.