How is increase intake of Alcohol, Women and COVID-19 related?

COVID-19 has brought many new changes in people’s lives. There is lot of uncertainty associated with this pandemic as many cases are increasing worldwide. Many people are losing jobs, there is lot of economic-uncertainty, social-distancing is causing many people to be lonely as they stay at home with gripping fear in their hearts. This is causing lot of anxiety and fear all around the world.

What are the Reasons associated with increase intake of alcohol in women during pandemic?

Some of the reasons associated with increase intake of alcohol in during pandemic are:

According to a report there was a 50 % increase in alcohol sales and home delivery of alcohol also drastically increased about 300 % in March when compared to January 2020. People were stocking beforehand for social distancing. A report suggests that women are using alcohol to treat their stress, worries, fears, anxiety, and depression. Stress and anxiety are usually caused when they are locked in the house due to self-isolation, helping kids to finish up their school assignments, stress of loneliness, stress about job layoffs, stress with their newborn child, or fear of sleepless nights.


Especially, with ongoing threat of coronavirus, women feel worried, anxious, and stressed for themselves or their loved ones. It is human nature that we all worry that something may happen to us. And when faced with unknown situations and circumstances we go through fear and doubts which may lead to self-medication. And some women choose alcohol as self-medication to calm their anxieties.

According to the research, single mothers tend to drink more alcohol. Raising a child alone has greater responsibility and can be very exhaustive. It can be extremely challenging for a single parent to give their child the best life. Majority of single mothers face financial stress such as financial independence to pay rent, water bills, electricity, health care, food cost, transport or car registration, and school fees. These can trigger significant anxiety and stress among single mothers. Some single mothers think that the alcohol is the only way out to cope with the situations. Also, the research suggest more single mothers are relying on alcohol to be content.

Social influences can also play a significant factor in women’s likelihood of drinking alcohol.



For example, a social setting such as parties or friends’ gatherings, where alcohol is widely used and encouraged, women are more likely to participate in drinking alcohol. Friends can be a big influence on drinking alcohol. If a friend is alcoholic, then it is more likely that they will influence others to do the same.

Due to the social distancing it has become highly impossible for people to meet at the bars to socialize and drink. Other means of socializing these days is through social network. People are using social network as way of expressing and communicating with each other.




Memes like these are widely spreading over the internet to encourage people in consumption of alcohol. There is a high possibility that memes are convincing women to consume alcohol during the COVID-19.



Abbey, A., Smith, M. J., & Scott, R. O. (1993). The relationship between reasons for drinking alcohol and alcohol consumption: An interactional approach. Addictive behaviors, 18(6), 659.

“Stress Drinking: Alcohol Consumption Increases During COVID-19.” University of Utah Health,

“Pin by T. Dubs on Memes – Alcohol: Alcoholic Drinks, Neon Signs.” Pinterest,

“Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Alcoholism.”,

“Single Parents and Substance Abuse.” Drug and Alcohol Rehab Information and Resources – Alcohol Rehab, 25 Apr. 2019,

“Alcoholism And It’s Effects On Single Mothers.” Gatehouse Treatment, 1 May 2020,

Two Months, Seven Days, Four Hours, Forty-Eight Seconds, and Counting.

At this point, I find it hard to remember what day it is. Every day is starting to feel like a Saturday or a Sunday. But not in the way where you can relax and enjoy the free time, maybe have a pleasant outing at the park or a restaurant. No, the type of weekend where you have loads of laundry to wash, a work presentation due on Monday, a school assignment on Tuesday, a lawn to cut. Even now, as I write, I have a clear peripheral of a hamper full of clean laundry that I will probably fold during my lunch break. The line between work and my personal life that used to be drawn by the hour-long traffic rides is no longer there. Now, I simply minimize the browser that has my work tabs on it and bring up the browser with Netflix, Reddit, and the latest recipe on Bon Appetit. The latter being nowhere near as satisfying.  Staying at home during the pandemic has blurred the boundaries between the pressures of work-life and personal life into one ever-growing mountain of stress that seems inescapable in the confines of my home, and I need relief.

The pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home mandate have brought several highly stressful risk factors that can lead to women, like me, looking to alcohol for relief. Potential stressors like unemployment, lack of childcare, isolation, household responsibilities in combination with work responsibilities, and domestic partner abuse can all be catalysts to increase in alcohol consumption, with several of these factors having a more significant burden on women. It is no wonder that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought an increase in alcohol sales. Even though bars and restaurants may be closed, grocery stores have seen a spike in alcoholic sales. Nationally, all alcoholic beverages saw a 58% increase in sales since March. Wine sales were up 66% overall with canned wines rising by 95% and canned cocktails up by 93% (Micallef, n.d.). While these results do not give details on the sex differences in purchases, it is no mystery that marketers in the wine industry have taken a liking to women to increase their sales. Recent studies by the Wine Markey Council and Nielsen show women are buying and drinking wine more often than men and more often, in general (Women, especially millennials, are driving wine trends-Chicago Tribune. (n.d.)). Also, women are likely to be the primary shoppers in their households, making them the primary purchaser of alcohol all the more plausible.

Grocery shopping is just one of the many household responsibilities that women traditionally are expected to do, even while more women are taking on full-time employment. Also, if both parents work full-time, women are still primarily in charge of most household duties.

In a national poll, women were more likely than men to say their lives have been disrupted because of the coronavirus (Cahn, N. (n.d.)). These abrupt changes in many women’s lives have cause evident stress and tension that can put them at serious risk for an increase in alcohol consumption. To provide relief, the U.S. government should develop policies that focus on equal work and home support during and potentially after this pandemic. Policies like ensuring better health insurance benefits and paid/sick leave for those unable to come to work because they are taking care of children or elders at home (Women and COVID-19) would reduce the burden of stress felt by many women in this country and lessen the chances of women seeking alcohol as a coping mechanism.

While we shelter in place, remember to take a break. Find constructive ways to relieve stress and set clear boundaries between your responsibilities, your housemates, and your peace of mind. More and more companies are finding fascinating ways to provide online experiences that we can enjoy from the safety of our couches. Learn a new hobby, call up a friend, start a journal, make sure that whatever you do to relieve the tension that is sustainable and productive to your overall health. During the weekday, schedule in time to relax and be mindful, even if it is only for a couple of minutes. If you are living with others, do not be afraid to ask for help around the house. If you find that you are not doing a lot of the household chores, pick up a task or two to help a loved one. I will end this post like I have been finishing my Zoom calls, phone calls, and text messages with friends and family, stay safe.

Cahn, N. (n.d.). Women And The Frontlines Of COVID-19. Forbes. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from–covid-19/

Micallef, J. V. (n.d.). How The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Upending The Alcoholic Beverage Industry. Forbes. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from

Women and COVID-19: Five things governments can do now. (n.d.). UN Women. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from

Women, especially millennials, are driving wine trends—Chicago Tribune. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2020, from



Why Am I Drinking?

During this time of uncertainty, the CDC and the World Health Organization have advised us to practice social distancing and isolation to help flatten the curve of spreading Coronavirus. COVID-19, Coronavirus, or Corona, as other people would say, is here, and there is no telling when this pandemic will come to an end. As the stock markets continue to crash, filing of unemployment and mortality rates continue to rise, not finding a single roll of tissue and paper towel insight, and now on the news of murder hornets racing to the United States for the first time in history. It just appears as the world is going to end.

The world is at a standstill, and everyone around the globe is experiencing levels of uncertainty that leads many to feel bored, stressed, anxious, depressed, and lonely. Cooped up in the house all day long by yourself, significant other, children, or with family can cause someone to have these negative feelings. Since everything around us is going downhill, drinking a glass of wine or a bottle of beer seems right for the occasion.

Even though restaurants and bars are not currently open because of Coronavirus, that is not stopping anyone from buying and indulging in alcohol during this pandemic. The demand and consumption of alcohol have increased in sales over 50% since March this year in comparison to last year (Rebalancing the ‘COVID-19 Effect’ on Alcohol Sales 2020). The United States is allowing businesses to have carryout cocktails, home deliveries, and purchasing alcohol online, which is making it easier to stock up on alcohol in your pantry or fridge.

Now in this day and age, it is easier and faster to obtain alcoholic beverages than everyday essentials like toilet paper. Why are we rushing to grab a bottle of wine or order 24 packs of our favorite beer instead? The significant increase in alcohol sales during this period reflects how we may use alcohol as medicine to treat our stress and depression.  Women in comparison to men drink for different reasons. Women drink in response to negative emotions while men drink for positive reinforcement and pleasure (Alcohol and the Female Brain 2018). Women may drink alcohol to escape the harsh realities of the effects of Coronavirus. Women are feeling depressed and stressed about losing their job, surrounded by too many people or no one in their house or apartment, isolated with an abusive partner, or taking care of their children 24/7 during this stressful time.

 The effects of alcohol can change someone’s mood and behavior instantly. Drinking one to two drinks of alcohol can uplift your mood, feeling happier when everything around you seems to be falling apart. Drinking more than two drinks can make someone feel so relaxed, losing control of your movements to forgetting why you were sad or depressed in the first place (Lautieri,2020). The problem with indulging large volumes of alcohol alters your ability to think things thoroughly, especially when you have negative thoughts or feelings, which can lead to impaired memory, poor judgment, risky behavior, and becoming violent.  Drinking seems to be a quick fix to ease some of our problems, but we fail to realize the long term negative effects it can have on our bodies such as liver and brain damage, depression, cancer, and infertility.

Mental health and alcoholism are becoming severe public health issues during this pandemic. Ultimately, alcohol consumption is by choice, we have to take responsibility for our actions and how much we decide to consume throughout the day. We also need to ask ourselves, why did I choose to pick up this glass of wine or drink this can of beer? Am I drinking because of boredom? Or am I drinking because I want to escape reality or suppress negative thoughts?

Additionally, here is a video on Americans buying alcohol, alcohol sales, and health concerns on alcohol consumption during Covid-19.




1.“Alcohol and the Female Brain’ Presented by NIAAA Director Dr. George F. Koob.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 10 Jan. 2018,

2. Lautieri, Amanda. “Alcohol Effect on Brain: Short & Long-Term Mental & Cognitive Effects.” 3 Feb. 2020. American Addiction Centers,

3.“Rebalancing the ‘COVID-19 Effect’ on Alcohol Sales.” Nielsen, 5 July, 2020,

4.“‘Wasp’ Memes & GIFs.” Imgflip,

Are Liquor Stores Essential?


                                   assorted-color bottle lot on shelf

Are liquor stores essential? For every state but one the answer has been “Yes”. Liquor stores have remained open throughout social distancing and sales skyrocketed by 55% as people spend all their time bored and lonely at home. Some people are drinking more as they attend Zoom happy hours or play drinking games over Discord. But the increased sales in alcohol are not just due to fun games and virtual social gatherings. They are a sign of decreased mental health as people battle stress, anxiety, and grief during this global pandemic.

Alcohol use is not the cure people need. It is associated with many negative health outcomes including weakening immune systems, chronic health problems, and increased risk-taking, including domestic violence. Many of these problems are worse for women who drink – we are more likely to suffer chronic health conditions at lower levels of alcohol and experience the brunt of domestic violence. As Dr. Parker-Jones suggests, women might be more likely to increase their drinking right now due to the stress of COVID-19 since women are more likely to use alcohol to cope with anxiety and depression.

                                                                group of people tossing wine glass

Despite the many harms related to alcohol, almost every state in the country has decided to keep liquor stores open. This isn’t just due to the normalization of alcohol drinking or pressure to keep the economy rolling. It’s also due to the very real danger that restricting access to alcohol has on people who are physically dependent on alcohol. If these people go cold turkey, then many will suffer seizures and even death. Many will turn to non-edible sources of alcohol like drinking hand sanitizer. These individuals would suffer greatly and would burden the already stretched thin health care system.

Deciding whether liquor stores are essential is not as simple of a question as it might seem. Keeping them open may lead to worse health outcomes, more domestic violence, and encourage drinking as a way to cope with anxiety. But closing them could lead to pain and even death for those who are addicted to alcohol.

Liquor stores are essential, but only because we don’t have a good system to handle addiction and mental health. We need programs like Canada’s MAPS which ensures that physically-dependent alcohol users have access to the minimum amount of alcohol they need. We also need more affordable mental health treatment so that people, especially women, can learn better ways to cope with depression and anxiety rather than turn to drinking. Keeping liquor stores open is a band-aid solution and shows how badly we need a comprehensive mental health care system.

Will we see a sharp decline in binge drinking among college-aged women during COVID-19?

Authors: Symone Richardson and Christine Nguyen 

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, or the NIAAA, binge drinking is defined as an excessive amount of alcohol consumption that increases one’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dl or more (1). For women, binge drinking is typically the consumption of four or more drinks in about two hours. Binge drinking is a serious public health issue that can lead to a lifetime of long-term harmful use of alcohol as well as physical harm such as alcohol poisoning or liver damage. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking is the deadliest pattern of excessive alcohol use in the U.S. (2)Individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 were reported to be the most likely to binge drink, and compared to their non-college counterparts, young adults ages 18-22 in college are more likely to binge drinkThis may be due to social or academic environments of college campuses such as social pressures to drink in order to fit in, the availability of alcohol around campuses, college party culture, or academic related stress. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2018 approximately 11.9 million, or more than a third, of young adults responded as being current binge drinkers (3).  

While the number of college students participating in binge drinking has decrease from 45% to 37% between 2003 and 2014, it is still a large problem on college campuses (4)With the global COVID-19 pandemic, these numbers are subject to another shift due to executive orders like social distancing and quarantining. In addition, almost every college campus in America suspended in-person classes early and transitioned to distance learning– with some even cancelling inperson classes for the Fall 2020 semester. Since the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, there has not been a lot of data being produced on the current rates of binge drinking amongst college students during this time of limited interaction. However, we can consider the factors that would lead to the increase or decrease in the percentage of college students binge drinking.  

One factor could be access to alcohol. On college campuses, students who are underage may have an easier time getting alcohol, especially in large quantities, from another student or other channels than they would be able to do if they were at home. We have, however, seen that alcohol sales in the United States increased 55% in late March and included online sales and restaurants offering alcoholic beverages for takeout orders (5) 

As mentioned earlier, social pressure to drink as part of the college culture will not be as present with students at home or away from college campuses. However, the increased rate of stress and anxiety among college students regarding online learning, isolation from peers, and post-graduate plans in the midst of a pandemic can lead them to drink heavily. Women are affected by stress and anxiety at a higher rate than men with the percentages of having an anxiety disorder being 23.4% and 14.3%, respectively (6)COVID-19 is creating many physical and mental hurdles that everyone, including women and college students, face daily. Unfortunately, alcohol has been a widely used coping mechanismWomen, especially, are more likely to use alcohol consumption to cope with mental health issues like depression and anxiety disorders (7)With all the health effects from alcohol use that disproportionately affect women, it is important to monitor this issue and create interventions that will reduce the burden, especially now in the time of this global pandemic.  



  1. Drinking Levels Defined. (2019, November 26). Retrieved from 
  2. Binge Drinking is a serious but preventable problem of excessive alcohol use. (2019, December 30). Retrieved from 
  3. Alcohol Facts and Statistics. (2020, February 18). Retrieved from 
  4. College Students Engaging in Less Binge Drinking. (2017, August 3). Retrieved from  
  5. COVID-19 drives alcohol sales, raises concerns about substance abuse. (2020, April 14). Retrieved from 
  6. Any Anxiety Disorder (2017, November). Retrieved from  
  7. Stress Drinking: Alcohol Consumption Increases During COVID-19. (n.d.). Retrieved from  

Women, Alcohol & COVID-19

Increased alcohol sales in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic

By March 22nd, 2020, just one week after many organizations and businesses started preparing for social distancing measures, there was a 55% increase in alcohol sales in the United States. Compared to this week last year in 2019, the market saw a:

-75% increase in the sales of hard liquors such as tequila and gin

-66% increase in the sale of wine

-42% increase in the sale of beer

Online sales had far higher numbers than in-store sales, with projections for even higher numbers as consumers rushed to stockpile their homes before proposed stay-at-home mandates went into effect [1].

New data projects that approximately 30% of consumers who purchased alcohol online during the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to do so. Convenience could be the leading reason for this. Not only have online sales spiked (no pun intended), but the average order size has increased by 22%. This tells us that consumers are drinking more than before.

What does increased alcohol sales mean for women’s health and safety?

Let’s start with asking the question, who is more likely to use alcohol to cope? Well that would be women, according to Dr. Parker Jones, of the 7 Domains of Women’s Health, women are facing a tremendous amount of stress during this time. There is fear and uncertainty in many avenues. Stressors that arise during this time may be attributed to loss/uncertainty of unemployment, having to home school children, caring for sick family members, inability to pay bills, social isolation from other family members and friends, being an essential worker, fear of contracting COVID-19…etc. While these stressors can affect men and women alike, women are more likely to seek relief and use alcohol to cope with feelings of depression and anxiety [2].

Women with full-time jobs, spouses and children are spending about 71 hours per week on child-care, household duties and chores, and elder care, compared to men who are spending about 51 hours per week on the same duties. To be honest, it’s no wonder than women are filling their wine glasses a bit more often during this time [3].

WHO reported that alcohol leads to both short-term and long-term effects on your body’s organs. Short-term alcohol consumption may alter the body’s normal health function, including sleep patterns and REM sleep cycles. A lack of sleep can lead to unsafe health behaviors such as, increased stress and anxiety, recklessness, more drinking, higher tensions in the home, and a higher chance of ‘snapping’ due to irritability.

CDC defines heavy drinking for women as eight or more drinks per week. Long-term heavy alcohol consumption and constant binge drinking can lead to a reduced number of white blood cells. These blood cells help fight viruses and infections, their decrease leads to a weaker immune system lowering the body’s ability to fight infectious diseases. More severely, heavy consumption of alcohol can lead to an increased risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome, a symptom of COVID-19 [4]. One thing is for certain, alcohol will not protect from COVID-19 [5]

What is a better way for women to cope during these times?

Alcohol is not at all a necessary part of the diet. Can one indulge every once in a while? Sure- A consenting adult over the age of 21 is allowed to drink, but women should ask themselves why they are drinking. If the answer is along the lines of boredom, stress, or to cope then we need to find a healthy alternative. One could try:

  • A physical workout (indoors of course, unless you are able to socially distance yourself outside!)
  • Practicing yoga or indulge in a solo dance party
  • Reading a good book you haven’t had time to get to
  • Journaling and practicing mindfulness
  • Home improvement ideas that are easy to do yourself
  • Cooking a new dish you’ve seen on social media
  • Calling a friend or family member
  • Learn something new about a topic you know nothing about, but find interesting
  • Deleting old pictures and apps from your phone to create space (a personal favorite)

Most important during this time is for all women to remain healthy and safe!












COVID-19, the Global Alcohol Industry, and Women

With the current state of the world during these unprecedented times of the Coronavirus pandemic, more women have turned towards alcohol to help them cope with this so called ‘new normal.’

What is the current state of the global alcohol industry?

In order to stabilize the U.S. alcohol market from the closure or to-go only orders of restaurants and bars caused by the shelter-in-place restrictions during the months of March and April, a 22% increase in sales across all alcoholic beverage categories is necessary. The United States’ alcohol market was not the only alcoholic market to face negative implications due to COVID-19, the world’s wine industry risks permanent changes with a 35% reduction of on-premise wine consumption in Europe, as well as a 50% decrease in wine sales across the entire European continent. While there have been decreases in on-premise alcohol sales due to Coronavirus, maybe out of fear of alcohol running out, much like Clorox wipes and toilet paper, there was a 50% increase in global alcohol sales during the close of March 21, 2020 compared the same week in 2019.

This is not the first-time women from around the world have turned to alcohol to cope with traumatic experiences. Economic events like the 2008 global financial crisis led to an increase in overall alcohol use. And other events such as terrorism, mass shootings, and natural disasters have also all led to an increase in alcohol use, on the global, national, and local levels. But the Coronavirus pandemic is creating new stressors where women are fearful that they or someone they love may be infected or maybe they are struggling to navigate this ‘new normal.’

Technavio has announced its latest market research report titled Global Alcoholic Beverages Market 2019-2023 (Graphic: Business Wire)

Source: Business Wire. Pre- and post-COVID-19 market estimates-alcoholic beverages market 2019-2023, demand for superior alcohol to boost growth, technavio. 2020.

How are women turning to alcohol during these unprecedented times?

Researchers have found that 1 in 5 British women are increasing their alcohol consumption during the pandemic, while 1 in 3 have decreased their consumption. With many women working from home, homeschooling their children, and practicing social distancing, home alcohol delivery sales have increased dramatically. There has been an estimated 300% increase in global alcohol sales in March compared to January.

The increased stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic has caused many women turn to alcohol to relieve their stress, reduce their sometimes racing heart rates due to anxiety, and potentially cause sedative effects in order to wind-down from the day and sleep well. While the sedating and stress relieving effects of alcohol may seem intriguing and helpful, they are actually harmful to women’s cognitive abilities, sleep cycles, and can aid in the increase of negative interactions and tensions in the home.Source: Pray for parents! Stressed-out mothers and fathers share hilarious memes as they struggle to keep children busy during coronavirus self-isolation. 2020.

Are alcohol companies targeting women during the Coronavirus crisis?

Women who utilize Facebook, Google, and Instagram, have been seeing different ads than they normally would have if COVID-19 did not exist. For example, many women, myself included, have been seeing new ads for alcohol delivery and Instagram Live Happy Hours with influencers and alcohol brands. Targeted ads for alcohol have increased by 350% in Australia,Quarantinis” have gained in popularity in the U.S., which are martini’s made from gin and Emergen-C, and virtual Happy Hours are happening all over the globe.

Source: eExtra News. Emergen-C, Aviation American Gin respond to ‘quarantine’ drink. 2020.

A virtual Happy Hour I have seen specifically target women is one where they can have a cocktail at home and virtually explore Highclere Castle, the famous and historic castle where the infamous “Downton Abbey” series and movie were filmed. One of the aims of this Happy Hour is the advertisement of Highclere Castle Gin, targeting fans of “Downton” and the Royal Family, to drink like a Royal, as the event is hosted by the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, who reside in the castle.

Source: Highclere Castle Gin Spirits. 2019.

Globally, are women drinking more than before COVID-19?

In short, yes. As previously mentioned, 1 in 5 British women have increased their alcohol consumption since the beginning of the pandemic; 70% of Australian women reported drinking more than they normally would; and 26% of American women said they are drinking during work hours. But South African women are not drinking at all, as the government instituted a prohibition in order to decrease community spread of COVID-19 in order to keep about 5,000 trauma hospital beds free for Coronavirus-related care.

At the end of the day, while COVID-19 has decreased the on-premise sale of alcohol globally, sales for home delivery have increased drastically. Women from all over the world who are now working from home, homeschooling their children, and making all of their own meals in order to practice social distancing have been targeted by online ads and contributing to this increase are home alcohol delivery and increased drinking rates. Hopefully these increased rates in drinking due to COVID-19 will not create increased rates of alcohol use disorder in women, but only time will tell.


Alcohol as a Coping Mechanism: Anxiety in a Pandemic

Authors: Ashley Watson, MPH and Alexandria Patterson, MPH

People all across the world are facing the hardship of COVID-19, a pandemic that many countries were unprepared for and completely shocked by its severity. Stay-at-home order mandates were put into place around mid-March, and our sense of reality was lost. All nonessential businesses and schools were forced to close for an uncertain amount of time, resulting in a spike in unemployment, with over 30 million Americans filing since the start of the outbreak [1]. The decline of the economy is well underway.

Consequently, feelings of fear and anxiety may emerge in adults and children as COVID-19 continues to spread. Many adversities include new or more profound economic hardship, increased family disputes, feelings of isolation, and poor work-life balance. Individuals vary in their response to an outbreak based on their background, things that make one person different from another, and the community in which one resides [5]. The adverse reactions to stress can be more influential in individuals who are at higher risk of COVID-19 due to having a chronic illness, healthcare workers and first responders, and people with mental conditions such as substance abuse [5]. As we are living through unprecedented times, women, men, and children look for new ways to cope.

A commonly used coping strategy is alcohol. We know this because it is a not a new trend. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, twenty percent of people diagnosed with social anxiety disorder experience some type of alcohol abuse or dependence. Generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorders are also often connected to alcohol use, with researchers suggesting that in some instances anxiety symptoms are the result of alcohol withdrawal [3]. According to a study conducted at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, excessive drinking can make an individual more susceptible to anxiety and the experience of trauma, and subsequently, post-traumatic stress disorder [4].

Many women use alcohol to self-medicate when it comes to anxiety. Since alcohol is a depressant, many women consume it in order to reduce anxiety [2]. Initially, alcohol consumption can reduce anxiety. However, alcohol can also increase anxiety shortly after consumption. Furthermore, this increase in anxiety symptoms can persist for more than a day [6].

These problems can be exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lack of social interaction and extreme boredom can cause anxiety. This is often referred to as going “stir crazy.” Current marketing strategies and social expectations already support and encourage concepts like women drinking wine after a hard day. This has been greatly magnified during the COVID-19 pandemic. An example is the meme below that suggests the consumer should stock up on a shopping cart full of wine as part of their emergency pandemic preparation. This type of marketing is especially harmful to women who are anxious about potentially contracting COVID-19 and/or a myriad of other concerns. The uptick in virtual “happy hours” as a replacement for in-person socialization has also become a form of self-medication. These types of gatherings further convince women that alcohol is quelling their anxiety, when in reality much-needed social interaction is the more probable cause for decreased anxiety symptoms.

Source: Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC)


  1. 30 million have sought U.S. unemployment aid since COVID-19 hit. (2020, April 30). Retrieved from
  2. Ankrom, S. (2020, March 23). The Risks of Using Alcohol to Relieve Anxiety. Retrieved May 16, 2020, from
  3. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Social Anxiety Disorder and Alcohol Abuse. Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA.
  4. Heavy drinking rewires brain, increasing anxiety problem. UNC Health Talk. (2012, September 4).
  5. Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19. (2020, April 30). Retrieved from
  6. Watkins, M. (2019, November 25). Anxiety and Alcohol: How They Are Linked. Retrieved from