Drinking Up During Lockdown?
Recently, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction commissioned a Nanos poll to find out if COVID-19 measures were affecting the amount of alcohol that Canadians are consuming. The results were clear: Canadians are consuming more alcohol. And the reasons they cite for the increase? All COVID-19 related.
While alcohol use was up across the board, it was Canadians aged 35-54 who reported the most marked increase. Fully one-quarter of those surveyed in this age group reported that they were drinking more alcohol than normal right now. The second-highest increase was found to be among 18 to 35-year-olds (21% reported consuming more), while just 10% of Canadians 55+ reported an increase in their consumption.
Approximately half of respondents said that they were drinking more because of the change in their daily schedules (51%) and because of boredom (49%)—both results of the physical distancing and stay-at-home measures put in place to fight COVID-19. The third reason given for increased consumption was, unsurprisingly, stress, which was a reason given by 44% of respondents.
For more than 50 years, the Canadian Liver Foundation has been actively educating Canadians about the harmful and potentially fatal effects of rampant alcohol consumption. While not the only or even the most common cause for liver disease, significant use of alcohol is a risk to liver health in many ways. Why?
The liver processes everything that enters the body, including alcohol, but even the healthiest of livers can only process so much at a time! When someone overindulges, their liver works hard to detoxify the body as quickly as possible, but meanwhile the excess effects the heart, brain, muscles, and all other tissues in the body. It may also interfere with various medications. All the increased consumption happening right now, during the coronavirus outbreak, means that a person’s health may be diminished just at the time when they most want to preserve it!
If you find yourself drinking more during this challenging time, ask yourself why. Are you, like those in the CCSA survey, affected by a change of schedule, boredom, and stress? If so, may we suggest finding alternate and healthier ways to beat those issues? Frequent walks in quiet areas may help. Or learning a new skill. Connecting with friends and family. There are so many options!
And the Canadian Liver Foundation is always here to help. If you have questions about alcohol and liver health, check out this information or contact our National Help Line. We’re all in this together!