Everything has turned upside-down since last spring, when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold across the United States and things that we always took for granted completely shut down. Millions of us were suddenly forced to learn how to serve as homeschool teachers, millions more had to learn how to work remotely for the first time and still more were forced to wonder what they were going to do about money going forward. For many of us, the answer to all of this sudden time of intense adjustment was drinking more often.
When people think of those who are problem drinkers, it’s common to visualize a man. If you do any images search on Google for “alcoholic,” you’ll find that the vast majority of photos returned on the first page are those of men. However, according to the results of a recently released study, both men and women drinking more is becoming a problem, with the results for women even more surprising than anything else the study turned up.
About the Study – Men and Women Drinking Increases
The study, which appeared in the JAMA Network Open, was done in the form of a survey of 1,540 adults that was a representative sample of the population of the United States. RAND Corporation ran the survey, which consisted of several questions relating to alcohol consumption between April 29 and June 9 of 2019 and between May 28 and June 16 of 2020. The obvious difference between those two time periods was the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic in the United States.
Among the findings:
- All participants in the study drank more days each week.
- The respondents as a whole had more drinks during the 2020 timeframe.
- All of the participants reported more days of heavy drinking.
- Respondents reported more alcohol-related problems in 2020.
Of particular note was the heavy drinking days. According to the study, the number of heavy drinking days among men rose by a factor of 0.07, which represents an increase of approximately 20 percent over 2019. For women, drinking heavily rose by a factor of 0.18, which constitutes a rise of over 40 percent, or more than double the rate of increase as compared to men. That specifically amounts to one extra day of heavy drinking for 20 percent of women.
What It All Means
First and foremost, what we should consider pulling from this study in terms of everyday knowledge is not necessarily that women drinking more is a problem, because even though the results indicate that much, the problem runs deeper. As we’ve stated more than once in the recent past, alcoholism is a disease. It does not discriminate based on age, race, ethnic background or gender. Women drinking more is indicative of a greater struggle many people are either already facing or soon will face as this topsy-turvy time continues onward.
All of us are drinking more, and with no end to the pandemic in sight and no return to the “normal” of 2019 or before imminent, many mental health experts in particular feel that it’s time to start wrapping our brains around what could be considered the “new normal” for quite a few reasons. Therefore, any thinking along the lines of, “I’ll get back to being my old self when this is over” should likely be discarded with a new outlook.
The problem, though, is that a new outlook is not nearly enough to overcome a disease, regardless of your gender. A new outlook is not going to defeat pneumonia or multiple sclerosis. It’s not going to override the desire for that next drink, that next bottle or that next escape that alcohol can temporarily provide. Like any disease, alcohol usage problems needs to be treated with the help of professionals, a support network and others so that this challenge remains at bay for the long haul.
How Swift Recovery Solutions Can Help
Swift Recovery Solutions is a team of mental health and substance abuse professionals who almost literally have seen and heard it all. This is especially true with regards to the pandemic, as it should be clear to anyone that both mental health and addiction issues are exploding in number and in severity. To make matters worse, treatment can seem as though it’s hard to come by given all of the constraints in place with regards to social distancing and the like.
If you are one of the men or women drinking too much these days, it’s time to work on that. We can help you do that. All you need to do is contact us to discuss the situation. We are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. When you call, someone will answer and more than anything else, we will listen to what you have to say. You should take the same step if you’re worried about a loved one who is drinking too much and may need help.
We understand. We’ve been there and we’ve helped countless people who likely had more severe problems than you or your loved one get back on their feet after defeating this disease. We know how difficult it’s been, but what’s even worse is that we know how difficult it can get if the situation is allowed to deteriorate further.
We are open and operating, and we’re ready to help you as soon as you’re ready to help yourself and your family. When we speak, we’ll help you decide on what the next steps should be, and we will also make sure to talk with your insurance company before anything starts so that you know exactly what’s happening with your coverage before any treatment begins. The time for waiting out the pandemic is over. The time to get help is now. Contact us to get started.