Increased alcohol consumption during pandemic

According to a study conducted by Global Drug Survey published this September 36% of people in the Netherlands saw an increase in the amount of alcohol consumption now compared to before COVID-19. 43% of them admitted to drinking increasingly frequent. Additionally, 30% of the questioned people started to drink earlier in the day. Reasons for this change of behaviour seems to stem from “having more time to day-drink” and “being bored more often”. 

 “As Alcohol distributors, I have felt the quick rise and drop significantly.”

Philip Rodriguez (46), co-founder of “the Wine Spot”, a wine store in Amsterdam West has seen an increase of customers during the lockdown first hand. “There were three months, where we sold more than double when restaurants and bars were closed that we felt a massive increase in sales and the store was always full, but when they did open again it dropped from one day to the next.”

Rodriguez does not personally think that people drank more during lockdown but earlier. “They do not have to leave work to drink some glasses of wine, so I think inhibitions to drink early lowered.” The quick rise and fall of sales took their strains on the shop owner. “We had no time to train a third person, and we could predict this surge will be of a short time, so we were working like dogs every day.”

«Since Corona started, I have drunk more days than not”

Young adults without children have reported to have felt the effects of the pandemic on her alcohol consumption most. Sara van Heide* (27) is a student at the University of Amsterdam. “Since Corona, I have been drinking almost every day “, she admits. “Before the pandemic, I would reach for the wine bottle-less frequently to decompress, but the stressful changes this past year has brought with them made me drink every day, sometimes even during work hours. Now it’s a habit of mine.“ Her stress has increased while her social responsibilities decreased.

Why her consumption has changed so rapidly, she can not pinpoint. “I am not very worried about the virus anymore, but it has brought an extreme change in my daily structure, and I felt lost and lonely.” She lives alone and was suddenly studying from home. Additionally, Sara could not visit her long-distance boyfriend for three months. „It felt kind of like I was on holiday every day but still very stressed. Since Corona started, I have drunk more days than not.“

Sara’s friends and life partner think her excessive drinking behaviour is dangerous. She drinks every single day during the week and binge drinks on weekends. “My boyfriend is worried about me and my health, but my friends drink just as much and often as I do, so I do not think there is an issue.”

*Name has been changed for privacy reasons


written by Talia Farghaly

Featured image by Hans Vivek