Alcohol addiction has long been a serious problem in America, but it has only gotten worse during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to research from Massachusetts General Hospital researchers who were affiliated with Harvard, the rate of alcohol abuse in the U.S. has increased by 21% since the pandemic began.
It is predicted that this increase in alcohol abuse will cause the following by 2040:
- 8,000 additional liver disease-related deaths
- Nearly 19,000 additional liver failures
- At least 1,000 cases of liver cancer
By 2023, the alcohol abuse increase will likely cause:
- At least additional 100 liver disease-related deaths
- About 3,000 additional liver failures
If this heightened rate of alcohol abuse in the U.S. does not drop to previous or lower levels, then it could create a long-term mortality rate increase of roughly 27% for alcohol-related diseases. The need to lower the rate of alcohol abuse is imminent, and that begins with understanding what has caused it.
Why is Alcohol Addiction Increasing because of the Pandemic?
The Harvard-affiliated researchers did not go deeply into the cause of America’s sudden 21% increase in alcohol abuse. They were mainly focused on numbers and data. But it likely does not require a degree in statistics to accurately guess why alcohol addiction has increased so much and so quickly: living during a pandemic is stressful and has a negative effect on mental health.
Many people are facing alcohol addiction due to the pandemic because of the stress that it has done to their mental health. The pandemic has caused unwarranted anxiety, depression, and more which has caused the individual to turn to alcohol or other substances to mute these unwanted feelings.
New or worsened stressors during the coronavirus pandemic include:
- The anxiety of testing positive
- Depression caused from the pandemic
- Fear of social situations due to exposure risk
- Grief caused by the loss of a loved one
- Job loss, especially in large numbers
- Skyrocketing housing prices
- Sociopolitical tensions and controversies
- Undesired isolation for long periods of time
This list is not fully inclusive, yet it is highly likely that you have experienced at least one of these stressors during and due to the pandemic. Everyone has been impacted by the pandemic in some way, and people with alcohol abuse disorders have felt some of the worst consequences.
How to Bring Alcohol Abuse Rates Back Down
Each person who is struggling with an alcohol addiction must make the choice to fight it themselves. But that does not mean that they are alone in that fight. Everyone who makes a stand against alcohol abuse disorder should know that they can get support and guidance from their loved ones, communities, and, perhaps most importantly, professional addiction rehab centers.
Acknowledging that people with alcohol addiction are not alone and can seek help is the first step in bringing alcohol abuse rates back down to pre-pandemic levels. It is also an important step in lower those rates even further. If you have found that you are reaching for alcohol more often than before the pandemic began, then please remember that things don’t have to stay that way. With rehab and the support of your loved ones, you can regain sobriety and find healthier ways to handle the new stressors of the pandemic.
Since 2004, Decision Point Center has provided personalized and effective alcohol abuse treatments to countless people who began drinking for many different reasons. If you live in Arizona and want to stop your alcohol abuse tendencies before they get worse and cause a life-threatening illness, then please contact us right away. We would be happy to help you get your life back on the right track.