It seems a rising number of people are grabbing “adult beverages” to take the edge off COVID-19 stress. According to survey data from the RAND Corporation American Life Panel, a nationally representative probability-sampled panel of adults, alcohol use increased by about 14% in the United States during the first few months of the pandemic.

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, showed that the rise in alcohol comsumption in women was 17%. Across all adults ages 30–59 years, the increase was 19%.

Although some people use alcohol as a coping mechanism when faced with coronavirus-induced anxiety, loneliness and anger, it can backfire by elevating these problems, creating a vicious circle of increased mental distress and alcohol intake. Not to be overlooked is that excess alcohol consumption can have negative health consequences, including an impaired immune system—a big problem if you are faced with a virus infection.

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