You may have noticed that I’ve taken a much-needed break from discussing the pandemic recently. But today’s message is too important to pass up.
See, as our mental health continues to collectively suffer in the age of coronavirus, there’s one coping strategy you should avoid.
Well, research shows that this crutch is linked to thousands of premature deaths and a heightened risk of disease, including liver cancer.
The high cost of binge drinking
I’m talking about drinking more alcohol.
You might not be surprised to hear that alcohol sales and consumption have increased during the pandemic.
As a result, excessive drinking—such as binge drinking—skyrocketed by 21 percent.
Researchers used this data to draw future projections. They estimate that by 2023 alone, the excess in drinking (from just the first year of the pandemic) will result in early deaths. They project 100 additional deaths from alcohol-related liver disease and 2,800 additional cases of liver failure.
By 2040, the numbers look even more dire, with this increase in alcohol consumption potentially leading to…
- 8,000 additional deaths
- 18,700 cases of liver failure
- 1,000 cases of liver cancer
Even worse, researchers concluded that if this increase continues beyond a single year, it could lead to as much as a 35 percent increase in mortality.
Choosing bars over the public health
Look, I enjoy a good cocktail as much as the next person. And I believe an occasional happy hour is good for the soul.
But I have to say, these projections are concerning. They also stand in pretty stark contrast to the ongoing effort to keep bars and restaurants open at any cost.
In fact, the state of New York is probably going to keep their open lid laws in effect—thus allowing people to walk around NYC with open containers of alcohol.
Is that really necessary?
Call me crazy, but I’ve always thought that public health policy should reflect the goal of keeping the public healthy. But it seems to me that—in this case, at least—the health of businesses’ bottom lines are more important.
The bottom line is this: the pandemic has had so many unintended consequences—with vast and still unknown long-term impacts. The grim effect of increased alcohol consumption is just one of many.
Until we’re all safely on the other side of this, it’s important to take a few steps back to reflect on our actions and how they’re affecting our health—both individually and collectively.
For some, perhaps that means putting down that frothy mug. The choice, as always, is up to you.
To learn more about how this particular crutch could be sending us to an early grave, check out the September 2021 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“Your body on booze: Breaking down the good, the bad, and the unknown”). Not yet a subscriber? Click here to become one… before it’s too late!
“Study holds warning on pandemic drinking.” The Harvard Gazette, 01/04/2022. (news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2022/01/covid-related-drinking-linked-to-rise-in-liver-disease/)