Growing evidence suggests Americans are drinking more in response to the pandemic, The New York Times reports. The increase in women’s drinking has been especially steep.
One survey conducted last May found that of the more than 800 respondents, most of whom were white women, 60% said they were drinking more compared with before the pandemic. More than 45% said stress was one of their reasons for drinking.
Another study assessing differences in alcohol drinking patterns before and after the enactment of stay-at-home orders found that between February and April 2020 women were more likely than men to exceed recommended drinking limits.
The American Psychological Association conducted a survey this February that found almost one-quarter of adults reported drinking more to manage pandemic stress. “It shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it did surprise us, this drinking to cope,” said George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Previous research suggests people who drink in order to cope, instead of for pleasure, are at increased risk of developing an alcohol use disorder.