Page Nav



Classic Header


Breaking News:


COVID Lockdowns Drove Americans To Drink … At Home … In The Morning, Studies Find

  When COVID struck the U.S., shutting down music and sports venues, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and more, Americans found a new hobby: ...

 When COVID struck the U.S., shutting down music and sports venues, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and more, Americans found a new hobby: drinking.

Well, many Americans already drink too much. U.S. Dietary Guidelines say women can have roughly one drink a day and men about two drinks a day, but some doctors say there’s no safe amount of alcohol that eliminates the risks associated. Either way, Americans hit the bottle after the lockdowns hit.

“Per capita consumption of ethanol from all alcoholic beverages combined in 2021 was 2.51 gallons, representing a 2.9 percent increase from 2.44 gallons in 2020 and a 5.5 percent increase from 2.38 gallons in 2019,” the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said in its latest “surveillance report.”

“This was the largest two-year increase since 1969, when there was a 5.9 percent increase (2.37 gallons in 1967 to 2.51 gallons in 1969),” the report said.

The uptick in alcohol use came almost completely from hard liquor.

Among other findings:

  • Between 2020 and 2021, changes in overall per capita ethanol consumption included increases in 37 States and the District of Columbia, decreases in 10 States, and no changes in 3 States.
  • Analysis of overall per capita alcohol consumption by U.S. Census region between 2020 and 2021 indicated increases of 5.4 percent in the Northeast, 1.6 percent in the Midwest, 3.4 percent in the South, and 2.3 percent in the West.
  • In 2021, State-level per capita annual alcohol consumption was more than 10 percent above the overall national level (> 2.76 gallons) in 17 States and the District of Columbia, 10 percent or less above the national level (> 2.51–2.76 gallons) in 5 States, up to 10 percent below the national level (2.26–2.51 gallons) in 15 States, and more than 10 percent below the national level (< 2.26 gallons) in 13 States.

What’s more, other studies found that more Americans were drinking alone at home.

“Several studies have now shown that solitary drinking increased as a result of the pandemic,” said Kasey Creswell, an associate professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“Studies have also shown that the associations between solitary drinking and alcohol problems are stronger for young women compared to young men,” she said. “This is especially concerning given that there have been recent increases in solitary drinking among US female adolescents.”

The increase in home drinking likely came about because many bars and restaurants shut down in the early days of the pandemic. Another NIH study found that at-home drinking can be bad.

“In general, on-premises contexts such as restaurants and bars/pubs were not associated with as many problems as off-premises contexts such as drinking at home or at friends’ and relatives’ homes,” said a study released in February.

“Injuries are associated with the frequency of drinking at home alone or with family and at restaurants. Volume of drinking at bars/pubs is also significantly associated with three different contexts: social problems, injury, and fights. But the volume of drinking at the home of friends or relatives is associated with fights only,” the study found.


And there’s more. Some people became “day drinkers.”

“Problematic morning drinking increased month-by-month during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, a pattern that was only evident for gainfully employed individuals who were under lockdown/stay-at-home orders,” another NIH study found.

For the record, some doctors say there’s no amount of alcohol you can consume that is “safe.” So if you were one of the Americans who started drinking more during the pandemic, maybe it’s time to give it up altogether.

No comments