Stress levels have shot up ever since COVID-19 has started. To deal with it, many Americans are relying on alcohol during the quarantine. But too much alcohol consumption can make the ongoing health crisis even more challenging. Data suggest that people are indulging in excessive drinking, which can be risky for their health. In late March, alcohol stores witnessed a 54% increase in sales, and in the latter part of April, online sales recorded about 500% growth. These surveys also show that about one in four adults and five GenXers have been drinking more than before.
While it is true that drinking offers temporary relief, you also have to realize that excessive consumption of alcohol can cause liver damage, cancer, and more. It can also prove fatal. So, before you indulge in this activity, it is good to know how much is safe and what can be an ideal alternative to this.
Points to consider about drinking in the time of COVID-19 by Brian C Jensen
How much alcohol is safe to consume?
Healthcare institutions recommend that people should not exceed more than three to four drinks on any occasion. Men can consume 14 standard drinks and women half of that per week. According to the US dietary guidelines, women can have one drink and men two in a day. A standard drink refers to a 12-ounce beer with 5% alcohol or 5-ounce wine with 12% alcohol, for example. Of course, one should also consider their height and weight, as this will have an effect on the amount that one should drink.
As per Brian C Jensen, some people need to stay away from drinking. For example, it may not be safe for those on medications, taking treatment for alcohol abuse, or for pregnant women.
Is it wrong to drink to tackle stress and anxiety?
Coronavirus-led stress can give you a reason to drink. It can have a temporary effect on your anxiety and discomfort, but the situation can worsen over time. You may feel more miserable and try to drink more. Hence, it is not a solution for any emotional strain that you might be experiencing during this pandemic.
How to develop healthy drinking habits?
The first thing you should not do is to justify your drinking habit because of the level of stress that you are experiencing due to COVID-19. At the same time, you need to focus on nutrition, sleep, and exercise for your mental and physical health. Connect with close ones, go on walks, play games, etc. In essence, keeping yourself active can allow you to distance yourself from drinking. You can indulge in a drink or two sometimes. But that is it.
Healthcare and nutrition experts say that alcohol abuse can intensify respiratory distress in an infected person. Hence, it is essential to moderate drinking behavior as per one’s health and medical condition. You can also protect yourself from infection if you eat a proper and healthy diet and follow an active lifestyle with certain precautions. Drinking in small quantities may not be harmful, but it may be risky if you exceed your limit. Also, if you feel stressed or emotionally drained, you should not rely on alcohol. Instead, divert your attention to more enjoyable activities with family and friends.