Diseases among other ailments increased due to spike in alcohol consumption

Heavy drinking is defined as 4+ drinks per day for men, 3+ for women
Posted at 12:38 PM, Jan 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 09:10:28-05

(WXYZ) — Alcohol consumption has been on the rise since the start of the pandemic. Now doctors are worried about this alarming trend that is expected to trigger severe ailments like cancer.

"This seems to be just a problem across all regions of our country, and it's related to some of the factors that came up during the pandemic," said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ismael David Yanga of Ascension Brighton Center for Recovery.

From social distancing to work-related stress, Psychiatrist Dr. Brooke Weingarden says the pandemic has fueled many reasons for people to turn to drinking.

"It started as a zoom call with your coworkers for virtual happy hour. And people were really going to drinking as a way to cope and escape," said Weingarden from Birmingham Maple Clinic.

According to a recent RAND Corporation study, overall, alcohol consumption has sharply increased among American adults, including women, by 41%.

"A lot of females are home trying to either home school or manage family activities," says Weingarden.

Yanga says the list of complications resulting from alcohol is endless. Starting with impeding the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients, resulting in sleep disorders, depression, and even diabetes.

"Increased risk of stroke, increased risk of heart attacks, and so as the body is chronically defunded in some of these vitamins then you start to see some of these health problems," says Yanga.

People consuming alcohol are also at a greater risk of being diagnosed with cancer and liver diseases.

Yanga says "From a cancer perspective, its very minimal amounts should be tolerated if you are trying to prevent cancer."

According to the rethinking drinking website, heavy drinking is defined as four or more drinks per day or more than 14 per week, while for women, it's more than three per day and seven plus per week. The goal is to keep it at a minimum and explore alternatives.

"Number one is exercise, Socializing, finding someone to connect with, coming up with art projects, activities, creativity, any one of those things are really fun and creative ways of de-stressing," said Weingarden.

"If you can see what havoc COVID-19 is having on our health care system at a smaller percentage, think of what alcohol can do at a larger percentage," said Yanga.

Constant craving for having a drink, lack of focus, or becoming irresponsible are just some of the many signs to look out for. If you or someone you know needs help, reach out to a medical professional right away.