Alcohol consumption at home increases during lockdown

found that although people generally drank the same amount of alcohol in limited time as if they had no limit, locking the door appeared to be related to a change in habits to drinking at home. home, late at night.

In Scotland, the study found that there was also an increase in drinking alone, although the researchers say this could be explained by a higher proportion of people living alone in Scotland than in the UK.

Drinking at home is still an under-researched area, and while the long-term effects of these recent changes are unknown, the study authors suggest that these new drinking habits should closely watched as we move into a less restrictive phase.

During the UK’s first shutdown, venues such as pubs and restaurants were closed, affecting the type of places where people can drink.

Restrictions have been eased since July 2020, with pubs and restaurants gradually allowed to reopen. However, from September 2020 in response to the increased number of cases, a series of national and local restrictions were introduced and once again impacted guest facilities.

The team studied 41,500 adults drinking in Scotland and more than 250,000 adults drinking in the UK, focusing on the initial lockdown in March 2020, the easing of restrictions in July 2020 and the start of the lockdown. beginning of the next restrictions in September 2020 until December 2020.

Although the figures show no statistical difference in the total number of units of alcohol consumed per week during different periods of the first year of the pandemic, a more detailed analysis shows that the Restriction on restriction is linked to people starting to drink later in the day and Scotland, where there is a higher proportion of people living alone, drinking alone.

Dr Abigail Stevely, co-author of the study from the University of Sheffield’s Alcohol Research Group, said: “Despite some concerns that people may be drinking more during the day, we actually found that there was a shift for people who started drinking later in the evening during the lockdown period, which probably reflects a change in people’s habits and the lack of opportunities to social during the day such as going to the pub with colleagues after work.

“While we found that regulatory restrictions did not change overall alcohol consumption, there is evidence from other studies that heavier drinkers may have increased their consumption. “

The study’s findings show that store-bought alcohol consumption increased after the March 2020 ban and remained higher than in previous years for the remainder of 2020, even during the period. embargo restrictions are eased. Meanwhile, alcohol consumption in hotels declined following the March 2020 closure and remained lower than in previous years for the remainder of 2020.

The researchers believe this is most likely to be explained by three reasons: even when commercial facilities reopen, they are still operating at reduced capacity; some venues (eg nightclubs and live music venues) remain closed; some people will continue to stay away from reception facilities even during periods of less restrictiveness because of fears of contracting COVID-19.

Dr Iain Hardie, lead author of the study from the University of Glasgow MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, said: “Going forward, it remains unclear what the long-term consequences of changes in alcohol consumption in 2020. With hospitality establishments already operating at near full capacity, it is likely that alcohol consumption in these locations will approach pre-pandemic levels, although they may the ability to decrease again in response to new variations if restrictions are re-imposed or people are afraid of indoor spaces.

“However, the increase in home drinking in 2020 is a cause for concern. From other studies, we know that alcohol-related harms have increased during the pandemic. The increase in drinking. home alcohol may have contributed to this. Will home drinking habits be chosen by people in 2020 become a new norm in people’s drinking behavior?”

The study, ‘Impact of changes in COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on alcohol consumption and drinking occasion characteristics in Scotland and the UK in 2020: an interrupted time series analysis’ published in the journal Addiction. The work was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Medical Research Council and Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government.

Source: Eurekalert

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