New Study: Increase in Alcohol Consumption, Especially in Women

A local Psychiatrist with UCSD Health, Sonya Norman, Ph.D., told NBC 7 she’s not surprised by the findings

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According to a new survey conducted by RAND Corporation, people over the age of 30 have been drinking more alcohol since the beginning of the pandemic. Researches found a particularly sudden spike in alcohol consumption in women.

A local Psychiatrist with UC San Diego Health, Sonya Norman, Ph.D., told NBC 7 she’s not surprised by the findings.

“It was something we were concerned about in the mental health community from the beginning,” said Norman.

Researchers with Rand Corporation surveyed 1,500 people during spring 2019 and then again spring 2020. There was a 19% increase in alcohol consumption in people between the ages of 30 and 59. For women, ages thirty and up, there was a 41% increase in alcohol consumption.

Jill Soto, of North Park, said she’s drinking more too.

"Basically, all of my responsibilities have been wiped away and a drink at the end of the day is my reward at the end of the day for getting through another day stuck inside my house,” Soto joked.

She said she and her husband are sharing at least one to two drinks each night, but said she is drinking more than her husband is, which aligns with the recent study.

“Some people are facing stressors they wouldn’t normally face, like; they might lose their job, more financial stress, women maybe face the same stressors around work and navigating other parts of the pandemic, but maybe some of the household and childcare stressors are falling particularly on their shoulders,” said Norman.

She also said it’s important for people to be able to identify alcohol abuse.

“If people have withdrawal symptoms -- getting shaky if they’re sort of always waiting for their next drink, those would be some of the signs,” Norman explained.

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism consider heavy drinking as more than four drinks for men and more than three for women. If you or someone you know may be abusing alcohol, click here for resources.

According to RAND Corporation, there has been an increase in alcohol consumption for people between the ages of 30 and 59, compared to last year.

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