Study Suggests Binge Drinking Increases With Every Week of Lockdown

The stress of COVID-related quarantines often includes heavy alcohol consumption

drinking at home
Binge drinking at home increased during lockdowns, according to a new study.
Cunaplus_M.Faba / Getty Images

The longer you’re stuck in the house during these quarantine/shelter-in-place times, the more likely you are to binge drink.

That’s common knowledge, but also a finding from the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. A new published report studied “sociodemographics, alcohol consumption, and COVID-19-related stressors (household composition, job status, essential worker, stay-at-home duration, and depression)” in a web-based, self-report survey to U.S. adults from mid-March to mid-April 2020. Among 1,982 participants, 69% were female and 31% male.

The results weren’t surprising: 34% of the sample reported binge drinking during the pandemic, and those binge drinkers drank more during the pandemic (60%) than non-binge drinkers (28%).

Binge drinking here was defined as men who consumed five or more drinks or women who consumed four or more drinks within a two-hour time frame. Heavy booze consumption also rose an extra 19% during every week of lockdown.

As well, binge drinkers previously diagnosed with depression and current depression symptoms had greater odds of increased alcohol consumption.

If there was one bright spot, it was with parents; those surveyed living with children had lower odds of binge drinking during the pandemic.


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