People drinking more during pandemic, especially women, study finds

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) — When does an occasional glass of wine become a concern? Researchers have started seeing a dangerous trend of increased alcohol use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A survey published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that 60% of the more than 800 respondents were drinking more than before the pandemic.

Forty-five percent of participants said their reasons for drinking included increased stress, particularly among women.

“In addition to childcare that comes with being a mom — also be teachers in many cases — so the stress has gone through the roof. So alcohol, at least in the short term, can be a nice coping strategy to deal with stress,” said Dr. Carrie Mintz, Washington University psychiatrist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Boredom and increased alcohol availability are also factors, according to researchers.

Mintz says there are questions a person should ask themselves or ask a family member if they suspect there is a possible issue with overdrinking.

“If you notice that the person is giving up activities that they used to participate in in order to be able to drink. Are they finding that they’re thinking about drinking alcohol for a large portion of the day. Is it causing conflicts in their either interpersonal relationships or at their job?” Mintz said.

Hazardous drinking is considered to be one or fewer drinks a day for women and two drinks a day for men.

Mintz said if you have concerns, start by telling your primary care doctor.

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