MARQUETTE — With millions of people staying home in quarantine, heavy drinking is becoming more frequent.

While many industries are seeing a decline in revenue due to the COVID–19 pandemic, alcohol sales have increased. For the week ending March 21st, alcohol sales jumped 55% compared to the same time last year, according to Nielsen data (source).

According to one rehabilitation professional, it’s indicative of how the public is reacting to the pandemic.

“I think overall with the quarantine and the stressful situation we’re in with the pandemic, people want relief from that,” said Robert Mellin,  Outpatient Services Director for Great Lakes Recovery Centers. “Anxiety is a negative emotion. People don’t wanna sit in anxiety. They want to feel better. So alcohol is a quick solution. People are drinking more because they’re stuck at home. People are drinking more because they’re frightened.”

Increased alcohol usage can put a strain on relationships, while increasing the likelihood of conflict and having an adverse effect on health.

Setting limits, doing other activities, practicing moderation and reaching out for social support are all good alternative coping mechanisms to deal with the stress that a pandemic brings.