Using alcohol to cope with coronavirus lockdown is exposing our class divides

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Ian Hamilton
@ian_hamilton_
16 hours ago

Now that we are a month into lockdown, it’s becoming clearer how some of us are getting through this pandemic. Some interesting differences are emerging, particularly in our use of alcohol to cope. Two distinct groups have formed: those who are moderating their intake of alcohol, and those who are drinking significantly more.

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A new survey commissioned by Alcohol Change UK reveals that one in three (35 per cent) of us who drink report drinking less or have adopted a “dry Covid-19”. These are likely to be people who view the virus and the period of lockdown as an opportunity to enhance their health and personal development, by learning to play a new instrument or language, say, and by moderating their alcohol intake. Contrast this with the one in five (21 per cent) drinkers who report increasing their consumption since lockdown began. Already drinking every day prior to the coronavirus restrictions, these people now report adding to the amount of alcohol they consume. They are alrady deemed at risk of developing alcohol dependence and issues associated with higher levels of alcohol consumption, such as cancer or heart problems. By drinking even more, that risk is amplified.

Covid-19 hasn’t removed inequalities in our society; it has exaggerated them. As with so many aspects of health, there is a class divide in the impact that alcohol has. While access to alcohol is classless, as it is relatively affordable to most, the results of drinking depend on where you are in social hierarchy.

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