Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone experienced stress, one way or another. Unfortunately, for some, this stress led to an increase in alcohol, which makes the health crisis even worse. Too much alcohol damages liver health and the immune systems, which reduces the body’s ability to fight off viruses like COVID-19.
According to Dr. Mariann Piano, a substance abuse researcher, research shows that people drink more than usual. Nielsen reports alcohol sales increased by 54% in late March 2020, compared to the year before. And online sales increased by nearly 500% in late April. A Morning Consult poll amongst 2,200 US adults conducted in early April found that 16% of adults reported an increase in drinking during COVID-19. Of the young adults, one in four Millennials and almost one in five Gen Xers said they raised their alcohol intake.
How much alcohol is too much
How much alcohol is too much depends on numerous factors, such as weight and gender. In general, “moderate” alcohol consumption is two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
“Heavy” drinking is described as four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men within two hours.
Heavy drinking leads to liver damage, which causes severe illnesses like brain damage and even coma. It can also lead to indigestion problems and severe bleedings due to blood cloths.
Furthermore, alcohol can lead to damaging use of prescription drugs, poor sleep, as well as dehydration. Lastly, alcohol affects brain functions like memory and rational thinking.
What causes people to drink more
The most common factors that cause people to drink more is stress. As the pandemic increased anxiety for many, people tend to turn to alcohol to try to relieve everyday stress.
Anxiety isn’t the only thing that makes people drink more alcohol during COVID-19. With the isolation and lockdown, many suffer from loneliness and boredom. To escape these feelings, people drink more. This can be a dangerous development, making drinking a routine, a go-to solution.
How to consume less alcohol
There are many alcohol-free ways to cope with pandemic stress. The most important ways are to stay physically active, get enough sleep, and eat healthy foods that naturally detox your liver.
For mental health, yoga, meditation, and deep breathing methods have proven to reduce anxiety. And finally, make an effort to talk to friends or family by phone or video to feel less lonely. Especially when you are alone, it’s wise to do things that bring you joy or meaning, such as walking outside, reading a good book, or praying.
It is wise to limit alcohol consumption if you want to improve your liver health. But besides this, there are many ways to naturally detox your liver through certain foods.