Stiff Drinks, Stiffer Consequences: 5 Ways COVID-19 Era Changed Alcohol Use

By  //  September 3, 2021

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The COVID-19 pandemic upended lives and trapped many in quarantine for weeks or months.  Between stay-at-home orders and closed stores, people spent more time at home than ever before. Unfortunately, the claustrophobia and turmoil were a perfect storm for alcohol abuse.

The pandemic changed alcohol use for many demographics like mothers, the middle-aged, and people with depression. If you’re concerned about how your drinking habits have changed since the pandemic started, you can get help from facilities like the Clean Recovery Centers, located on the central west coast of Florida

People drank more often at home

For many people, having a beer or a cocktail is a social activity often done at restaurants or bars. A dinner out or an evening meet-up for drinks are healthy and pleasant times to get together with family, friends, and co-workers. 

During the height of COVID-19, social gatherings were all but impossible. Social drinking ended abruptly, and closed bars mean that many people started drinking in their homes. 

People who already drank too much drank even more

Typically, people who already had trouble regulating their alcohol intake only struggled more during the pandemic. The COVID-19 era increased alcohol use by taking away other coping mechanisms, such as spending time with friends or going out in public.

Many states and local areas allowed bars and restaurants to sell cocktails to-go. The accessibility of a quick curbside cocktail made drinking easier for the homebound. Though this provision was an excellent way to keep businesses afloat, it threw gasoline on the fire for many people struggling with alcohol use. 

People drank more often

With no excuse to leave the house and no way to access our regular emotional outlets, drinking became a pastime for many. 

The numbing and soothing effects of alcohol quickly became a coping mechanism amongst the last two years’ boredom, fear, and uncertainty. 

Drinking by mothers of young children increased 300%

As a group, women drank 41% more than they did before the pandemic started. Mothers of young children increased their alcohol intake by 300%.

Major health organizations changed advice often as new information came to light. Schools closed their doors. Mothers had to balance working from home, taking care of children, and regulating their emotions in a frightening time. Many turned to alcohol to cope with the increased stress of pandemic life. 

Remote workers drank on the job

COVID-19 era changed alcohol use by changing other parts of daily life, like the way people work. Remote work is much more independent than work in an office, with little to no direct supervision.

A survey by says that of the 1,300 people who responded, 90% admitted to drinking while working remotely. With no exact clock-out time, no happy hour to look forward to, and no boss breathing down their necks, remote workers blurred the line between work and relaxation.

Wrap up

Some areas are expanding to 24/7 alcohol sales while others continue to sell alcohol to-go even though restaurants and bars are opening again. Though the vaccine is a light at the end of the tunnel, the trauma of the last two years lingers still. If you developed an unhealthy relationship with alcohol during the pandemic, you’re not alone, and help is out there for you.