Scientists at the University of Portsmouth have launched a study to understand how many people are turning to alcohol to handle the stress, anxiety and boredom of being isolated at home
Doctors fear a “second health crisis” as a result of increased alcohol consumption during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Scientists at the University of Portsmouth have launched a study in a bid to understand how many people are turning to alcohol to handle the stress, anxiety and boredom of being isolated at home.
The research follows figures from global data analytics company Nielsen which suggest that the sale of alcohol has increased by 291% during the pandemic.
A university spokeswoman said: “The outcome of the lockdown is unknown but, according to researchers, increased alcohol use could give rise to a second health crisis.”
Dr Matt Parker said: “The potential public health effects of long-term isolation on alcohol use and misuse are unknown.
Alcohol misuse is one of the leading causes of preventable mortality, contributing annually to about three million deaths worldwide.
“This period of isolation might lead to a spike in alcohol misuse and, potentially, development of addiction in at-risk individuals or relapse in recovered addicted patients, therefore placing further strain on drug and alcohol services, and the health service in general, during and after the pandemic.”
Those who volunteer for the anonymous survey are being asked to report their alcohol use, stress, and boredom levels weekly to monitor any changes.
Dr Parker said: “It is unprecedented to have so many millions of people across the world effectively locked away from their jobs, friends and families.
How people cope with this is varied, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of people responding by drinking more alcohol worldwide.”
James Clay, a PhD candidate who is administering the survey, said: “In the first week that the survey has been up and running, people have signed up from across the world, including the UK, USA, Australia and mainland Europe.
“In time, we hope the results will help health providers and governments to prepare for, and potentially mitigate, a second health crisis that could result if many people are consuming more alcohol.”