During 2020 we saw a lot of evidence that there has been an increase in alcohol sales during Covid-19. Unfortunately, it is hard not to connect that fact to the increased rates of depression and alcoholism during the Covid-19 pandemic. One study from the JAMA Network looked at increased alcohol consumption during the pandemic, and they believed at that time that alcohol consumption had increased at least 14 percent during the pandemic. We have seen alcohol sales of specific products go up much more than 14%. One of the most troubling aspects of this increase in alcohol consumption may be the fact that alcohol consumed during the pandemic is often-times consumed alone. I know from the previous reporting on alcohol and alcoholism that drinking alone can sometimes be a problematic sign of alcoholism or an alcohol dependency of some kind. We also saw large increases in both adult and teenage suicide rates, and the role of alcohol in depression and suicide cannot be ruled out in many of those cases. I did an article earlier this year that reported that 25% of young people had thought about suicide during the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States. Those numbers could be worse now, many months into the pandemic, and we know that NPR ultimately reported an all-time high rate of both suicide and substance use disorder in general during the year 2020.
The increase in alcohol sales and consumption in 2020 has serious consequences from the perspective of people working to treat alcoholism and substance use disorder, but it has immediate short-term and long-term consequences for people’s health, during a period when people already have the threat of Covid-19 disease looming over everything they do. Liver and kidney disease, heart disease, risk of cancer, and other deadly illnesses, can all be added to the increased difficulties people have with anxiety and depression. We also know that almost all diseases can be worsened by physical and mental health comorbidities, that is, when one disease it made worse by an existing disorder. A person who finds out they indeed have the disease of the liver could be at greatly increased risk if they have an existing problem with alcoholism or substance use disorder more generally. There are, of course, good treatment options for these scenarios. The people at Florida Springs Wellness and Recovery, one of the best alcohol and drug treatment rehabs in Florida, are experts at finding the best possible treatment options for all individuals, including people who need either inpatient or outpatient treatment options. For more information and to speak to a counselor, please call the number that is available on this website.
By T.A. Cannon (Contact me at TACannonWriting@gmail.com)