Excessive alcohol consumption could worsen the coronavirus pandemic

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If your relaxation ritual has turned into a bottle of wine instead of a glass, a six-pack rather than one or two, or more than a few mixed drinks, it could exacerbate the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. In progress. .

Turning to alcohol to cope with stress might sound like a good idea, but data suggests Americans drink a lot more than usual and that it can lead to increased health risks, American Heart Association said. in a press release. This includes compromised immune systems, reducing the body’s ability to fight infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

Nielsen, a global marketing research firm, reports that in-store alcohol sales increased 54% at the end of March compared to the same period in 2019. Online sales increased nearly 500% in April. A Morning Consult poll of 2,200 American adults conducted in early April showed that 16% of adults drank more during the pandemic, with higher rates among young adults: one in four millennials and nearly one in every generation X. five said their alcohol consumption was on the rise.

The excessive amount of alcohol varies by sex and weight. In general, moderate alcohol consumption means one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women, according to federal dietary guidelines. On the other end of the spectrum, binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men in a two-hour period.

“Some people say, ‘Whoa! Is it excessive alcohol consumption? It’s what I drink every night, ”said Mariann Piano, addiction researcher, professor of nursing and senior research dean at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of liver disease, obesity, breast cancer, depression, suicide, accidents, and a wide range of cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, strokes and heart attacks, according to the AHA.

Alcohol can also have harmful interactions with prescription drugs and lead to dehydration and poor sleep, the AHA said. It also affects brain functions such as memory, balance, and rational thinking.

“It can completely undermine your judgment,” Piano said. “I have seen bars where there is no physical distancing, with people in clusters or lined up against each other.”

Michigan bars were allowed to reopen on June 8, but most of the Lower Peninsula was ordered to cease service indoors this week after high-profile coronavirus outbreaks linked to bars in the state.

RELATED: Whitmer closes indoor bar service in most of Michigan

Lack of rational thinking while drinking, coupled with the weakened immune systems of people addicted to alcohol, could lead to more cases of the coronavirus, she said.

Anxiety, loneliness, and boredom are all potential triggers for binge drinking. These feelings increase during the pandemic as people work from home and isolate themselves from loved ones to reduce the spread of the virus, said Adriane dela Cruz, a drug and alcohol addiction psychiatrist and assistant professor of psychiatry at the UT Southwestern Medical Center. Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute in Dallas.

Widespread jokes on social media about “quarantines” and daily use of COVID could contribute to alcohol abuse, she said.

“This cultural idea that alcohol is a good way to solve problems is disheartening,” said dela Cruz. “If it’s a drink, it’s fine. But I’m worried when drinking becomes the routine solution.”

Alternatives to pandemic stress include yoga, meditation, deep breathing techniques, talking to friends by phone or video chat, walking outside, reading and other enjoyable activities, she said.

If you find yourself drinking binge drinking on a regular basis, consider contacting a primary care physician, mental health professional, or calling the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 800 -985-5990. Alcoholics Anonymous offers online meetings at aa-intergroup.org.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced on Wednesday, July 1, 262 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, which is lower than the recent seven-day moving average of about 311 cases per day. Officials also reported four more deaths – less than the seven-day 12-per-day average.

Since mid-March, Michigan has recorded 64,132 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 5,951 known deaths linked to infectious respiratory disease.

CORONAVIRUS PREVENTION TIPS

In addition to washing your hands regularly and not touching your face, officials recommend practicing social distancing, assuming anyone can carry the virus.

Health officials say you should stay at least 6 feet from others and work from home, if possible.

Use disinfectant wipes or disinfectant spray cleaners on frequently touched surfaces in your home (doorknobs, faucets, counters) and take hand sanitizer with you when you go to places like stores.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer also issued an executive order requiring people to wear facial covers over the mouth and nose inside closed public spaces.

Additional information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

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