September 23, 2021

5 Ways Your Drinking Habits Might Be Different Right Now

Anne Fernandez, Ph.D., is quoted in this Self article. 

Read original article.


Anne Fernandez, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, found that both of these behaviors—drinking more and drinking less—were reported in a national poll of adults she conducted in early 2021 studying alcohol use throughout 2020.

The motives behind each one are telling. “[Drinking more alcohol] seems particularly pronounced for people who struggled with depression, anxiety, stress, loneliness, and boredom, which makes sense because alcohol use can be a coping mechanism for some people,” Dr. Fernandez tells SELF. On the flip side, those who drank less throughout 2020 predominantly mentioned drinking for social reasons.


Anyone can find themselves in a risky situation if they’re not aware of how drinking more or less has changed their tolerance, which signals the level of “drunk” they’re accustomed to after having a certain amount of alcohol. 

“If you started drinking more during the pandemic, your tolerance to alcohol may have increased,” Dr. Fernandez says. “People sometimes rely on their own perception of how intoxicated they are, but the more tolerant you are, the less you feel the intoxicating effects that can impair driving.” That’s why it’s more important than ever to have a transportation plan in place if you’re drinking away from home—ride share, public transit, or a D.D.—so that you don’t feel tempted to drive if you “feel” okay.

If you cut back during the pandemic, your tolerance may have decreased, meaning you might feel the effects of that second drink a lot faster. In this situation it’s important to be especially aware when drinking in new settings and to take it more slowly than you normally would so that you don’t accidentally get sick or maybe do something else that you might regret. (Again, going in with a plan for spacing out drinks and imbibing slowly is huge here.)