Alcohol-Related Deaths Spiked During First Year of Pandemic: Study
March 22, 2022 – According to new research published in the American Medical Association Journal. Alcohol-related deaths topped 99,000 in 2020, up 25% from the nearly 79,000 deaths reported in 2019. This compares to the average annual growth of 3.6% between 1999 and 2019. In recent years, fatalities have risen, but only by 5% between 2018 and 2019.
The researchers pointed to several factors, including increased drinking to cope with stress, higher levels of heavy drinking, more emergency room visits for alcohol withdrawal, and delays in treatment.
“It is assumed that many people were recovering and had limited access to support that spring and relapsed,” Aaron White, Ph.D., co-author of the study and senior scientific consultant at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. , said New York Times.
Stress is a significant factor in relapse
“Stress is a major factor in relapse. There is no doubt that there has been a significant increase in self-reported stress and a significant increase in anxiety and depression and uncertainty around the planet about what will happen next,” said he. “It’s a lot of pressure on people trying to recover.”
White and his colleagues analyzed information from death certificates, focusing on alcohol-related deaths. A small amount can associate with COVID-19.
The researchers found that among adults under 65, alcohol-related deaths slightly exceeded COVID-19 deaths in 2020. About 74,400 Americans aged 16 to 64 have died from alcohol-related causes, compared to 74,075 people under 65 killed from COVID-19.
Overall, the 25% increase in alcohol-related deaths in 2020 outpaced the 16.6% increase in all-cause deaths. Alcohol-related deaths have also increased for men, women, and every ethnic and racial group. Mortality among men and women increased simultaneously, although the absolute number of deaths among men was higher. The most significant increase in alcohol-related deaths in 2020 was in Americans aged 25 to 44, up nearly 40%.
Based on available data for 2021, alcohol-related deaths remained high during the second year of the pandemic, and White told the newspaper. The researchers wonder if the trend in alcohol consumption will decline in 2022 or remain high.
“Maybe they’ll come back down,” he said. “But it could become the new normal.”
Total U.S. alcohol sales increased nearly 3% in 2020, the most significant annual increase since 1968. way.
“We are entering a public health era where we are talking more about promoting healthy lifestyles and raising resilient people,” he said. “What we are doing now is not enough. We must help people live meaningful lives filled with meaning.”