Local trends in alcohol-related health during the pandemic

(WEEK) – Recent national studies show that alcohol consumption has increased during the pandemic – which could lead to an increase in alcoholism and other alcohol-related health problems.

The pandemic has caused everyone a lot of stress and local health experts like Dr. Jim Ausfahl say it has caused some to turn to unhealthy habits.

“There has been an increase in the number of people seeking care for an alcohol use disorder,” he said. “People use alcohol and other psychoactive substances as coping tools to deal with boredom, stress, social isolation.”

And when the pandemic hit, more people turned to Alcoholics Anonymous groups for community and support.

“We have people who have entered Alcoholics Anonymous wanting to be sober and have come through zoom meetings, online meetings and maintained their sobriety throughout the pandemic,” said one person who wished to remain anonymous.

To the Peoria Area Intergroup Association – they support the list of 250 meetings held weekly around central Illinois.

One person in the group who chose to remain anonymous said the more people sought help, the more they also relapsed.

“Unfortunately that’s part of the disease is that a lot of people try to stay sober when the hard times come, that’s something that would be hard for people to overcome. Just come to a meeting and listen and see what’s going on. We’re just here to help each other and we’ve all been there.

Dr. Ausfahl says groups like aa in Peoria are key to slowing binge drinking.

Those who want help from groups like Peoria Intergroup can call them or find out more on their website.

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Maria J. Book