It’s a stressful time for everyone right now. But women specifically are using this to cope with their anxiety. Maybe a little too much.
New evidence continues to suggest that our drinking habits have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. A new study shows that women have been impacted the most, using alcohol as one of the principal ways in which to cope with these stressful times.
The study, published in JAMA Open Network, looked at self-reported data from over 800 men and women between 2019 and 2020. When comparing this year’s numbers to last year’s, people reported more drinking over the past 30 days. Women in particular reported 17% more drinking in 2020 than in 2019. They also reported 41% more heavy drinking days.
While men also reported drinking more frequently during 2020, their numbers weren’t as high when compared to those of women’s.
One of the big loopholes of a study like this one, made up of self-reported data, is the fact that questions can be interpreted differently by every person who takes the test or replies to the survey. While people’s relationship to alcohol has changed throughout the year, something that has been reflected in numerous studies, their personal interpretations may result in overestimating how much they’re drinking and how much the topic has been discussed during the pandemic.
According to the CDC, drinking alcohol should become a cause for concern once women and men are consuming over one or two drinks a day, respectively. Regularly consuming more than that might suggest an alcohol dependency, which could have sequels that impact you long after the pandemic is over. Long term alcohol use has been linked with depression, anxiety and it tends to be an unsuccessful coping mechanism.
While pandemic time is very different from our “normal” lives, keeping track of your drinking habits is a smart and healthy approach to take. It’s understandable to be rattled and stressed out by the situation, but it’s also important to reckon with the fact that the pandemic is here to stay. We should look for coping methods that are healthier and more effective than drinking that extra glass of wine at the end of the day, no matter how enticing that sounds.