When COVID forced people to lock themselves in their homes, excessive drinking trends only increased, ABC News reported.
New research shows that the number of alcohol-induced deaths during the coronavirus pandemic increased dramatically. And young Americans in their 20s, 30s and 40s have been most affected.
Anusha Chandrakanthan, a psychiatrist at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, told ABC News that the extra glass of alcohol was often caused by people trying to cope with unprecedented circumstances.
"Social isolation as well as fear of the unknown have always been major triggers for our patients," Chandrakantan added.
At the same time, alcohol has become easier to get than ever before, said Sarah Polley, head of the youth continuum at Hazelden Betty Ford, a national substance abuse treatment organization that also runs residential treatment centers.
Thanks to relaxed liquor delivery laws, people could order wine, beer or vodka to their homes across the country, Polley adds.
By the winter of 2021, hospitals across the country were reporting that alcohol-related hospitalizations were up 50 percent from previous years. Hospitalizations increased even more during intermittent binge drinking.
A study released this week found that mortality rates increased by 25% in 2020. They remained high in 2021, 21% above the pre-pandemic baseline, corresponding to tens of thousands of deaths.
Aaron White, head of epidemiology and biometrics at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, explained that this observation may reflect changing attitudes among young Americans toward alcohol.