The COVID-19 pandemic has induced more stress and anxiety than precedented. Honestly, I do not know of anyone who has not been affected mentally throughout this pandemic. There is worry, loneliness, and panic going through many people’s minds throughout the entire world. Unfortunately, others are suffering through grief as well.
The lack of responsibilities, increased time availability, plus the combination of stress all seem to make a perfect invitation for adults to drink more, and Americans have accepted the invitation well.
During the third week of March in 2020, alcohol sales were 55% higher than any week during 2019 in the United States, as gathered by data from Nielsen Holdings, an information and data firm, and reported by the Healio Primary Care System. Additionally, social distancing allowed online alcohol retailers to bask in orders – alcohol online retail business rose 243% by the end of March, once again reported by Nielsen. This is a concern when it comes to women drinking, considering that women typically have higher alcohol blood content compared to men who drink the same type of drinks and an equal amount of drinks, have the same height and weight. Additionally, women tend to drink more often for negative reinforcement, to reduce stress and relax.
Refinery29 interviewed 13 different women about their drinking habits during the pandemic. From reading all 13 responses, I found this one to be the most impactful:
“It is safe to say that alcohol consumption at our house is up, WAY up. And, if I’m really being honest, I’m not even sure why I’m drinking. I’ve never been one of those people who comes home after a long, hard day at work and pours themselves a glass to take the edge off. So why now? I will admit, sometimes playing the roles of employee, mom, wife, teacher, housekeeper, cook, and whatever else life seems to ask of us these days, drinking a glass of wine does seem to make things feel better. Maybe it allows this super type-A lady to relax and breathe. If I think about it, it’s one of the most ‘normal’ things we can do, given everything else that’s going on. It reminds me of better times — times with friends, times with family, and times when we weren’t worried about anything but having fun.” — Rebecca
10 out of the 13 women interviewed said they increased alcohol consumption during some point of the quarantine. For those 10 women, some common motivators for drinking seem to be to reduce stress, boredom, and for the feeling of socialization. Common stressors for many of the women seem to be the lack of separation of job and home responsibilities. They feel that they cannot juggle being employees, mothers, teachers for their children, and housekeepers all at once.
It was concerning how only 1 of the women was cognizant of how alcohol can exacerbate stress and anxiety. Additionally, many women had an inclination that they were drinking too much but excused it because of the pandemic. I know that 13 women are not representative of the entire female population of the United States. Still, I do believe that many women follow similar mentalities as the 13 interviewed.
Another striking discovery during my COVID-19 research was a warning released by the World Health Organization, where it was suggested that countries restrict alcohol access. Additionally, the WHO. generated an information brochure about the dangers of alcohol consumption and addressed myths and rumors about alcohol as a preventative agent for infection with SARS-COV-2. Instead, the WHO emphasized on how alcohol can suppress the immune system.
One thing is clear: there is not enough information out there to know the reality of alcohol consumption and how it is affecting women. However, there is enough inclination to suggest that if a prolonged quarantine period occurs, the pandemic will exacerbate the narrowing gap of the amount of alcohol consumption between men and women.
For now, enjoy your quarantinis responsibly, and thank you for reading!
I like your blog; it was a light and easy read. I found the same data from Neilsen as well. I knew everyone was hoarding food, toilet paper, but alcohol… not to the extent that there was over 50% increase in sales. Women who are excessively drinking alcohol during this pandemic are using it to help relax and escape a sense of responsibilities- troubles they are facing in their homes and personal lives. I do agree as well if this pandemic does not come to a close soon; there is the possibility that women will exceed men in alcohol consumption, mental health problem,s which will result in increased rates of alcoholism in our country.
I really also enjoyed reading your blog! I also found the article where they interviewed 13 women and their stories about their habits during this pandemic. The response that you posted was also one that I thought to be very interesting as well in that her response stated that she did not know as to why she was drinking. She notes that it was never something that she used to do regularly, and I can definitely relate. I think in this time of being on lock-down and isolating from others outside, we find ourselves with limited activities to partake in at home.