from the blog “Is it time to re-think your drink?” by Doctors Nova Scotia
When there is a celebration, however small or simple may be, most of us sing, eat and drink! Almost every occasion there is wine or alcohol. With the hit of covid-19 some people had more alcohol intake because of boredom but some took a step back and became more health conscious. They are now taking a closer look at why and how much alcohol they drink.
Statistics show that people have turned to alcohol to cope with boredom, stress and social isolation during the pandemic. A March 2021 report from Statistics Canada shows that 24% of Canadians who drank alcohol before COVID-19 increased their drinking once the pandemic started, with one in five people consuming five or more drinks on the days they reported drinking in the last month.
However, the same report notes that nearly as many Canadians – about 22% – reported they have been drinking less. Has the pandemic inspired some folks to re-evaluate their relationship with alcohol?
Amherst family physician Dr. Janneke Gradstein hopes that’s the case.
Dr. Gradstein, also a drinker, is worried about people using alcohol as coping mechanism. Some tend to drink just because they have a long day. It has also been a common practice to drink during social events and if you don’t, you need to explain!
She also emphasized that abstaining from alcohol should be normalized and should not be peer-pressured all the time. It is normal. It is healthier.
Alcohol is not healthy. Long-term alcohol use increases the risk of cancer, organ damage and other health problems. “We’ve lost sight of the fact that it’s a very significant carcinogen and more so with increased consumption,” says Dr. Gradstein.
The risk extends to women who are moderate drinkers. Women who drink three to six alcoholic beverages per week increase their risk of breast cancer by 15%. The risk climbs to 50% when women consume two drinks daily.
The good news is there are people who want to cut back or stop their drinking habits. Luckily there are many counseling facilities and they can provide counseling online. There are also groups that help people address mental health issues, prescribe medications to control cravings.
“It’s really important for people to feel comfortable with their choice not to drink and to stop feeling embarrassed or pressured in social situations,” says Dr. Gradstein.
For more information about this story visit https://www.yourdoctors.ca/blog/healthy-living/rethink-your-drink