NOT SHOCKING, BUT ALCOHOL-RELATED DEATHS HAVE JUMPED 25% DURING PANDEMIC LIFE
So the pandemic has created a lot of new realities for us to recognize. Unfortunately, there are so many of them that we won’t begin to understand most of them for years to come. But this sad fact is a bit easier to figure out, almost instantly. In the last 2 years of pandemic life, alcohol-related deaths have jumped by 25%. Yes, that’s a sad, sad fact. But like you reading this for the first time, I can’t say that I’m all that surprised to learn of it. And you may just remember how much alcohol sales in the United States jumped, just in the first year that Covid changed all our lives.
STRESS, ISOLATION, DEPRESSION FROM PANDEMIC LIFE LED TO MORE DRINKING FOR MANY
This sad news comes from a recent study out of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which is a part of the National Institutes of Health. So what can we glean from this news? Well, people have been drinking a lot more to cope with the stress of pandemic life. People engaged in binge drinking a lot more than before. But oddly, in the last two years ER visits by people suffering from alcohol withdrawal also went up. Yet in just one year, alcohol-related deaths, which includes things like accidents and liver disease, jumped from 78,927 in 2019 to 99,017 in 2020. That’s 25% right there.
YET WITH PANDEMIC LIFE, SUICIDE RATES GO DOWN AS MORE PEOPLE DIE FROM DRINKING?
But historically, before the pandemic life hit as like a collective medical asteroid, alcohol-related deaths rose about 3.6% a year between 1999 and 2019, with a slightly bigger jump that last year, of 5%. Again, this is only one not-at-all surprising fact for us to confront and, hopefully, do something about to help save lives. We are, after all, still in the middle of pandemic life, even as we blithely motor on to another spike in infection rates. But how do you make sense of people binge drinking more (and dying more) the last two years when the US suicide rate went down?
Facts causing cognitive dissonance just might be the beginning of our understanding what pandemic life is really about.