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Women, Alcohol and COVID-19 – Harvard Health Blog

Women, Alcohol and COVID-19 – Harvard Health Blog


Excessive use of alcohol is a common response to stress. Alcohol consumption increased The 9/11 attacks and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Covid-19 Pandemic it is following the same path. However, this pandemic is different in its scope and duration. COVID-19 is associated with health and negative economic impacts, as well as grief, loss, and prolonged stress and uncertainty.

The emotional impact of COVID-19 on women

According to U.S. National Emotional Impact Pandemic Report, compared to men, women had higher rates of pandemic productivity, sleep, mood, health concerns, and frustration at not being able to engage in pleasant activities. Women with children under the age of 18 had clinically significant anxiety compared to men under the age of 18 and women who had no minor children. Women carry more of the burden of household chores, care, and children’s education than men. The order to stay at home reduced the childcare assistance to interrupt the transmission of COVID-19 and led to the additional burden of distance schooling.

Rising rates of alcohol consumption in women

All you have to do is look at social media to see that there is a “cure” for pandemic-related stress: alcohol. Social media sites are proliferating memes that mothers drink to relieve stress. And alcohol is now getting easier than ever through delivery sites and apps. Therefore, it is not surprising to see the disproportionate impact of pandemics on women’s alcohol use. Alcohol consumption rates, a lot of drinking (sometimes defined as four or more drinks), and women-related disorders were on the rise even before the pandemic. In between 2001-02 and 2012-13, The proportion of women who drank alcohol increased by 16%, women drank heavily by 58% (16% among men), and 84% increased the prevalence of alcohol consumption by women in one year (versus 35% in men).

This is partly due to the change in social norms regarding the consumption of alcohol by women and the marketing of the alcohol industry to women. The pandemic has increased alcohol consumption rates in women. According to a RAND corporation examinationduring the pandemic, women increased their drinking days by 41% before the pandemic. Additional research showed that psychological stress associated with COVID-19 was associated with drinking women, but not men.

Medical and psychiatric consequences of alcohol consumption

The abundance of drinking is detrimental to physical health, including the risk of accidents involving hypertension, cancer, stroke, liver disease, and alcohol problems. Because women absorb and metabolize alcohol more than men, they suffer from the negative physical effects of alcohol, such as liver disease, heart disease, and cognitive impairment. It is calculated that one-third of breast cancer cases could be prevented if women did not drink alcohol, were physically active, and maintained a healthy weight.

Alcohol use can have a negative effect on mental health. Women are twice as likely as men to have depression and anxiety, and heavy alcohol use exacerbates depression, anxiety, and insomnia, symptoms that many people experience in this pandemic. Heavy alcohol use contributes to intimate partner violence and the COVID-19 pandemic has created a dangerous high stress situation, increased alcohol use and the chances of escaping for women living with abuse have been reduced.

Practical tips and resources for dealing with pandemic stress

It is important for women to find healthy strategies to deal with the stress and anxiety of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prioritizing healthy eating, sleep, and exercise can help improve your physical and mental health. Although physical distance is necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19, people should avoid socially isolating friends, family, and loved ones. Maintain a daily routine to avoid boredom, as boredom can often lead to alcohol use.

How to make changes in your alcohol use

Minor changes in alcohol consumption may be helpful:

  • Examine your drinking behavior by considering your physical and mental health risks, including personal or family history of alcohol problems, and using medications that are contraindicated with alcohol.
  • Be part of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) instructions for alcohol consumption: no more than one standard drink per day, and no more than seven in a week for women (the standard drink is 5 ounce wine; 1.5 ounce spirit; 12 ounce beer).
  • Leverage resources, for example NIAAA and CDC
  • Consider alcohol consumption and possible pregnancies. There is no limit to the use of alcohol when she is pregnant.
  • Find the safest way to reduce your alcohol use with your healthcare provider.
  • People who are recovering from alcohol use disorder or who need help may benefit telesana and online support group meetings. The NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Browser website provides information on telehealth and online support group meeting opportunities.



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