Sober October: Alcohol Use and Abuse During the Pandemic

Denise GillinHealth Benefits, News, Risk Management

By Josh Mountz, M.Ed, Prevention Specialist, Compass Mark

This unprecedented time during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread social isolation and has caused a great deal of anxiety and stress.  This is especially true for people with alcohol use issues and those recovering from alcohol use disorders. According to a study published in “JAMA Psychiatry”, nearly one in eight Americans have an alcohol use disorder (Read more about the study at  The rate of drinking has only risen in the wake of the pandemic.  Compared to this time last year, online sales of alcohol have risen 243 percent.

RAND Corporation, supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, reports that Americans are dinking 14 percent more than they have previously. They are drinking more days per month and to greater excess.

An increase in alcohol consumption can lead to several side effects, such as damage to most internal organs. Of special note during COVID-19, alcohol use in excess can cause lung issues. Excess alcohol use also increases the chance of alcohol use disorders. For parents, there is another consequence. By using alcohol as a coping mechanism, it is normalizing that behavior for children. Young people whose parents use alcohol to excess are more likely to experiment with alcohol and turn to alcohol to cope with difficult situations.

Sober October can help you reevaluate your relationship to alcohol. Going sober for a month can provide physical, emotional, and mental benefits. For more information and self-care tips on going alcohol free for a month go to

Recovery from alcohol use disorders is possible. For more information about alcohol use, prevention, and recovery options in your area, reach out to Compass Mark at or 717-299-2831 for help.


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