During the Pandemic, the number of middle-aged women dying from alcohol has gone up.
New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that adult women are dying at a much higher rate from drinking too much alcohol since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (CDC).
In a report that came out last Friday (November 4), the CDC showed that alcohol-related deaths among middle-aged adults in the U.S. have been going up steadily for almost 20 years. But between 2019 and 2020, when COVID-19 hit the country and changed almost everyone’s life, the number of deaths caused by alcohol went up by more than 26%. Even more shocking is that the death rate for women ages 35 to 44 jumped by a shocking 42%. The main reasons people died were liver disease and mental and behavioral health disorders.
Since 2000, the CDC has seen alcohol-related deaths go up every year, but never by more than 7 percent.
Dr. Kristopher Kast, clinical director of the Addiction Consult Service at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told NBC News that the new CDC data “unmasks the fact that we have a vulnerable population that was also living through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
At this point, nobody can deny that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of damage to people’s mental health. Isolating shutdowns caused by pandemics, widespread loss, and a feeling of uncertainty that made people anxious made 2020 a very hard year. Parents and their kids were also very badly hurt. And if someone was already having trouble with their mental health, the stress probably got worse.
Sad to say, the CDC’s bad news is in line with what other reports have said about alcohol use during the pandemic. A study that came out in March of this year in the journal JAMA found that the number of deaths caused by alcohol rose by about 25% between 2019 and 2020. In that same report, a sharper rise was seen among women.
“It doesn’t surprise us. Aaron White, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the study’s lead author, told CNN at the time, “It’s unfortunate, but we kind of expected to see something like this.”
“It’s not unusual for people to drink more when they’re under stress, and the pandemic added a lot of stress to people’s lives,” he said. “On top of that, it took away a lot of the ways people usually deal with stress, like social support and going to the gym.”
According to the CDC, about 140,000 people die each year because they drink too much alcohol.
What’s good? 2020 has been over for two years. We now know a lot more about COVID-19, like how it spreads and how it doesn’t. We also have good tools to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the virus.
During the pandemic, a lot of people have been having trouble with how they feel about alcohol. Now is a great time to make a change, whether that means getting back in touch with friends for support, trying sobriety or sober-curiosity, or getting help from a professional.
Before you go, take a look at some of our favorite quotes to help you feel good about food and your body: