Pandemic-Induced Boozing: No Laughing Matter

Individual Counseling Insights brought to you by California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

There’s been a lot of dark humor expressed over the last year. It’s only natural — “gallows humor” is a hallmark of people in every culture in every age. You’ve probably seen it in something as fairly benign as people talking about the “Covid 15” — the 15 pounds that so many people have added as they’ve exercised less and eaten more while locked down.

A man drinking a margarita

You may have also seen it in social media posts as people talk about mid-afternoon being “wine o’clock.”  But there’s a serious side to this dark humor. According to, online alcohol sales in 2020 were on track to increase 80 percent over 2019 sales. Alcohol consumption in America (not to mention the rest of the world) was already a problem, and it’s only gotten worse in the last 15 months.

In an article on the Director’s Blog of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a caution is given quite directly: “We know from previous disasters, such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, that the stress of the events and anxiety about the future can increase drinking and exacerbate symptoms of alcohol use disorder. We also know that feeling socially isolated, a possible effect of physical distancing, can worsen symptoms of anxiety or depression, which may encourage more alcohol intake. Indeed, the current COVID-19 crisis appears to have already fueled increases in retail alcohol sales. From the stress of unemployment to feelings of isolation during physical distancing, there are many reasons the COVID-19 emergency may be influencing alcohol consumption.”

Dark humor aside, if you know someone who has increased their alcohol consumption to an unhealthy level, it’s time to speak out. Help is only a phone call away. See the complete NIAAA article here.