Very soon, in December, it will be two years since mankind became acquainted with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Around the world, a lot of observations and data have already accumulated about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the most different aspects of our lives. What place did alcohol begin to occupy in it in the dashing covid times? Have the frequency and volume of libations changed in comparison with the BC period, which is now important to decipher “before the epidemic”? These questions were asked by scientists from different countries of the world, an international questionnaire was developed and relevant studies were carried out.
In Russia, one of the platforms for surveys is strictly according to the scientific method! – the site kp.ru has become , which is visited by more than 6 million people a day. The research was organized by the National Medical Research Center for Psychiatry and Narcology named after V.I. V.P. Serbsky, Sechenov University and Moscow State Psychological and Pedagogical University. The data collection was carried out from May to June 2020. Then the experts processed, analyzed the information received and published a scientific paper entitled “Changes in the behavior of alcohol consumption in the Russian Federation in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic.” What did the scientists find out?
Читайте на WWW.KP.RU: https://www.kp.ru/daily/28357/4505435/
LOVERS OF ALCOHOL DRIVING TO BOTTLE INCREASED, IN LITTLE DRINKERS – WEAKENED
As popular wisdom says, during socio-economic upheavals, the poor become poorer and the rich even richer. A similar effect was found with alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic. Citizens who have previously “taken on the chest” in large quantities – by medical standards it is 60 grams or more in terms of ethanol (180 g of vodka, or 1.5 beer, or 0.5 liters of wine per day) – more often admitted that that they began to lean on alcohol even more. And many of those who in “peacetime” were low drinkers, with the beginning of the epidemic, reduced their libations.
However, the researchers decided to dig deeper and analyze how the craving for alcohol changed depending on gender and age. It turned out that:
- The frequency of drinking alcohol after the start of the epidemic has increased in every third man (32.6% of respondents reported this). A decrease in the number of meetings with alcohol was announced by 23.5% of survey participants. That is, males more often increased the number of attachments to the bottle than decreased it.
- But almost every third woman began to raise a glass less often. More than 27% of women noted that they had reduced the frequency of alcohol consumption. This indicator increased in a smaller number (about 23%).
- The volume of libations at one time was reduced by about 25% of males and about 23% of females. This indicator increased for 17.5% and 1.9%, respectively. That is, most of them either drank less in one sitting, or continued in the same amount – regardless of gender.
- If we talk about age, then the relationship with alcohol has changed most noticeably among boys and girls aged 18-29. Representatives of this age group reported more often than others that they had reduced the dose of alcohol consumed at a time.
WHAT ELSE HAVE THE RESEARCHERS FIND OUT
The authors of the scientific work made several more indicative conclusions:
- people who, during the epidemic, faced the most tangible changes in the professional and financial sphere, more often admitted that they had increased the number of alcohol intake. At the same time, the volume of “taking on the breast” at one time they more often decreased than increased;
- The perception of the epidemic as severe stress also resulted in an increase in the frequency of libations. The same effect was given by the introduction of serious restrictions in public life (self-isolation, quarantine for contact persons, cancellation of mass events, etc.);
- oddly enough, but specifically the change in the average monthly income – both of the whole family and its individual members, as well as the level of education and the size of the settlement (a million-plus city or rural settlement) did not lead to significant changes in attitudes towards alcohol. These factors have hardly changed the frequency and extent of its use.
We asked one of its organizers and authors of the scientific work, an expert at the Institute of Leadership and Healthcare Management of Sechenov University, Ph.D. Artem Gil, to comment on the results of the study .
- Artem, if we compare how alcohol consumption changed during periods of socio-economic upheavals in the modern history of our country and in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, are there any noticeable differences?
- Yes, the following fact struck us the most. If we take the entire population of Russia, then, in general, alcohol consumption in the first months of the pandemic decreased. This is perhaps the main difference between the COVID-19 crisis and other large-scale social and economic crises that have occurred in our country over the past thirty years. For example, the crisis of the first half of the 90s and the default of 1998 were accompanied by a cumulative increase in alcohol consumption in the country. But it is important to keep in mind that our study is only talking about the early months of the covid pandemic
FEATURES OF THE STRESS RESPONSE
- How would you explain: why many men, after the arrival of the coronavirus in our lives, began to drink more often, and women, on the contrary, less often?
- This is probably due to the gender characteristics of reactions to stress and ways to cope with it, more familiar to one or another sex. In our country, in the previous crisis periods, the increase in alcohol consumption has always been more pronounced among men than among women. When problems caused by the crisis arise: a decrease in income or loss of a job, restrictions in everyday life and the associated stress, men often choose the easiest way to “get rid” of difficulties and worries – alcohol. But for many women in the same situations, other reactions are more characteristic: mobilization, increased self-discipline and, as a result, a decrease in alcohol consumption.
In addition, part of the male population and, to a lesser extent, the female population could regard the transition to teleworking and the period of self-isolation as a kind of holidays. And in our country during the holidays, especially when they are long (like New Year’s holidays, for example), a pronounced increase in alcohol consumption is always recorded.
- Why, in your opinion, did single doses of alcohol decrease for everyone, and at the same time for young people, most of all?
- This is a rather unexpected and interesting find. More data needs to be collected to explain it. I can assume that this may be a feature of the reaction to stress extended in time: all alcohol consumed begins to be distributed more evenly over time, which is reflected in an increase in the frequency of drinking alcohol with a decrease in the volume of single portions. Young people, in turn, in the context of a general decline in the economy, rising unemployment, and falling incomes, could be most deprived of funds to buy alcohol.
- Even in your study, it was noted that many people are less likely to “take on the chest” in large quantities. Is it because there are fewer parties, visits due to self-isolation?
- On the one hand, for many in the first months of the pandemic, incomes dropped, and it often became more difficult to buy large quantities of alcohol. On the other hand, indeed, due to the restrictions introduced, there are fewer social contacts, during which alcohol is most often poured like a river: going to nightclubs, bars, feasts, parties, etc.