Alcohol consumption reported during the COVID-19 pandemic: The initial stage
Physical health is not the only area affected by the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic. There are also other consequences that have globally affected many millions at other levels, namely: Societal, political, economic, and cultural. This study aims to survey alcohol drinking throughout the pandemic so as to investigate those factors considered most relevant; i.e., sociodem-ographic and clinical. A longitudinal study was designed. The first (or initial) stage was completed between April 10–20 2020 on 443 subjects during the enforcement of the “Lockdown” in Poland. The second stage will be due in June 2020. As well as an in-house questionnaire, the study used: The Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT), General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10), and the Brief COPE Inventory (Mini COPE). Alcohol was the most commonly used psychoactive substance (73%) identified. More than 30% changed their drinking habits because of the pandemic, with 16% actually drinking less, whilst 14% did so more. The former group was significantly younger than the latter. Amongst the stress-related coping strategies, it was found that current alcohol drinkers were significantly less able to find anything positive about the pandemic situation (positive reframing) and were mentally less able to cope. Those drinking more now were found to have been drinking more intensively before the pandemic started.