Here's Why You Shouldn't Be Drinking So Much in Quarantine

Heavy drinking could weaken your immune system, increasing your chances of getting coronavirus.

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The nearly nationwide stay-at-home orders designed to limit the outbreak of the coronavirus have been a challenge for millions of Americans. One very common coping strategy? Alcohol, and lots of it. In fact, online alcohol sales were up 243 percent at the end of March, according to Nielsen. But it's been proven that alcohol reduces your immune system's ability to fight off infectious diseases, which could actually put you at risk in terms of the coronavirus.

For example, a 2016 review in the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry shows that heavy drinkers are at an increased risk for both bacterial and viral infections. And those with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to the COVID-19 contagion. "Alcohol use may weaken the immune system by changing the balance of normal microorganisms that live in a healthy body, leading to increased inflammation," Chirag Shah, MD, co-founder of Push Health, previously told Best Life.

However, coping with the very real stress of this public health crisis and the new world in which we find ourselves has been difficult for many. In a post from the Johns Hopkins Anxiety Disorders Clinic, Paul Sasha Nestadt, MD, says: "There are risk factors with isolation, the lack of a schedule, and if alcohol is just there in the house with you. People with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse are also at higher risk when stressed."

Feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and depression are all very likely to increase as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This is almost certain to lead to an increase and perhaps over-reliance on alcohol as a coping strategy. So, Nestadt explains, "chronic drinkers should pay extra attention, and so should their loved ones, especially during layoffs or lost jobs."

And for more effects of alcohol to know about, here are 22 Surprising Ways Drinking Too Much Affects Your Body.

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