A new study has found that people struggling with anxiety and depression are more likely to increase their alcohol consumption amid the global pandemic.
The study, published in the journal Preventive Medicine, was carried out by researchers at the NYU School of Global Public Health.
He said that while alcohol consumption increased the most among young people, older adults with anxiety and depression saw a greater increase in their risk of harmful alcohol use.
Lead author Ariadna Capasso, a doctoral student at the NYU School of Global Public Health, said: âThis increase in alcohol consumption, especially among people with anxiety and depression, is consistent with concerns that the pandemic could trigger an epidemic of problematic alcohol use. “
Researchers believe that Covid-19 created many stressors, including isolation and disruption of routines, economic hardship, illness and fear of contagion. This caused an increase in the consumption of spirits during the pandemic.
To understand the impact of the pandemic, researchers at NYU created and administered an online survey in March and April 2020, using Facebook to recruit American adults in all 50 states.
Researchers asked participants about their alcohol use during the pandemic, gathered demographic information, and measured symptoms of depression and anxiety based on a self-report.
Of the 5,850 survey respondents who reported drinking, 29% said they had increased their alcohol consumption during the pandemic. While 19.8 percent reported drinking less and 51.2 percent reported no change.
Notably, people with depression were 64% more likely to increase their alcohol consumption, while those with anxiety were 41% more likely to do so.
The study observed that consumption behaviors varied by age. In general, young adults under 40 were the most likely to report increased alcohol consumption (40%) during the pandemic, compared to 40-59 (30%) and adults over the age of 40. 60 years old (20%).
However, older people (40 and older) with symptoms of anxiety and depression were about twice as likely to report increased alcohol use during the pandemic than older people without mental health issues.
Study author Yesim Tozan, assistant professor of global health at the NYU School of Global Public Health, said, âWe expected young people and people with mental health issues to report drinking as a mechanism. coping, but this is the first time we’ve learned that mental health is associated with differences in alcohol use by age.
This can be corroborated by a previous study carried out in 2002 which indicated that people drink often to cope with stress and traumatic events. The study found a significant increase in alcohol consumption just after the September 11 terrorist attacks.