Taylor & Francis Group. “New study shows every week of lockdown increases binge drinking.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 December 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/12/201207091306.htm>.
Harmful drinking among adults increases the longer they spend at home in lockdown, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.
The research, based on a survey of nearly 2,000 over-18s in the US, is the first to highlight the relationship nationally between hazardous drinking and life stresses triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated ‘lockdowns’.
The findings show the odds of heavy alcohol consumption among binge drinkers — those who, within two hours, consumed five or more drinks for men and four and above for women — rose an extra 19% for every week of lockdown.
The odds of increased alcohol intake overall for binge drinkers was more than double that of people who did not drink excessively (60% vs 28%), especially those with depression or a history of the disease.
Carried out by experts at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health, in Dallas, the study also highlights that:
- During the pandemic, binge drinkers on average drank four drinks per occasion, compared to two drinks among non-binge drinkers.
- Participants who drank at harmful levels during the pandemic would consume seven drinks maximum on one occasion. This is compared to a maximum of two per session during the pandemic for those who did not.
- Living with children in lockdown minimally reduced the odds (by 26%) of turning to the bottle for people in general.
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