Many past studies have shown that since the pandemic has started the rate of alcohol intake has increased. It has been a huge matter of concern among health experts. Some of the experts have said that the consequences of an increasing rate of alcohol intake have started to surface. They have reported that alcoholic liver disease has recently increased in the US. Liver disease linked to alcohol use has been affecting especially people who are younger than 40 years. A hepatologist from Harvard University, Dr. Raymond Chung has said that though the trend has been a major concern for doctors for many years; however, the COVID19 pandemic has worsened the issue even further. There has been a drastic increase in alcohol-related liver disease amid the pandemic, as people in the US have started drinking more alcohol.
A hepatologist at Northwestern Medicine, Dr. Haripriya Maddur, who has been treating young people with liver disease related to alcohol use has said that young people have been dealing with many hardships such as trying to start a family or finding a new job amid a falling economy. These people have dependant family members and a huge bill to pay, but without a job, they are unable to meet their requirements. In such a case, these people start consuming alcohol a lot, which becomes their last remaining coping mechanism. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that binge and heavy drinking are considered excessive alcohol use. Excessive drinking can be defined as five or more alcoholic drinks for men in one night or more than 15 drinks over a week. For women, excessive drinking can be defined as four or more drinks on a single occasion or eight or more drinks in a week.
Experts have said that alcohol poisoning or miscarriages in pregnant women are some of the short-term health effects of alcohol abuse. However, if people continue to indulge in excessive drinking for a long time, it can result in high blood pressure, alcoholism, and mental health issues as well. If excessive alcohol intake continues for years, it results in a fatty liver, an inflamed liver, or cirrhosis, which is linked to scarring of the liver. Experts have warned that once cirrhosis grows, it makes it difficult for the liver to function properly. Such a condition can be fatal as well, said the experts from the Mayo Clinic. Some of the experts are worrying that excessive use of alcohol will continue to be there long after the pandemic is over.
Experts have reported that alcohol sales have increased during the pandemic. A study has shown that alcohol use has increased by 14 percent in spring 2020 as compared to the same time in 2019. Another study, which has been done by experts from the RAND Corporation, has shown that alcohol intake has shot up by 30 percent during the COVID19 pandemic as compared to a few months earlier. Health experts fear that it is just the beginning of shocking levels of alcohol use. They have said that the pandemic will leave long-term consequences. Dr. Maddur has said that we can follow quarantine rules to contain the spread of the virus but the downturn of the economy, which is not going away any time soon will continue to impact people’s lives in the US for a long time.