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Binge drinking is on the rise

As the world turned upside down, people in every country were forced to grapple with unprecedented isolation, fear, anxiety, loss of work, illness, children learning at-home, and more. According to studies published in JAMA Network, binge drinking quickly became a coping mechanism for many. A poll of 200+ Sermo physicians revealed similar findings. 

When asked which substances they have seen an increase of use among patients, this is how the physicians responded:

  • 52% said Alcohol
  • 26% Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax
  • 13% said Marijuana
  • 5% said Prescription opioids
  • 2% Prescription stimulants, such as Adderall
  • 0% Cocaine

Regarding the long-term health health effects of increased alcohol and drug use, 69% of physicians said the biggest burden on physicians and hospitals will be emotional and mental health issues; and 25% said diseases rising from abuse (heart, liver, kidney etc.) 

In addition, 77% said healthcare systems do not offer sufficient educational information and resources to help patients cope with the increase in stress and anxiety that the pandemic has caused. And 63% believe there has also been an increase of alcohol and drug use among healthcare workers.

Even when the pandemic is behind us, 66% of physicians believe that unhealthy increases in alcohol and drug use will persist as long-term coping mechanisms. See below for a quick recap of our findings:

Here is more of what Sermo physicians have to say on this topic:

Alcohol excess could increase domestic violence, falls + fractures, drunk driving, hypertensive crisis, foster overweight, noncompliance in treatment for chronic diseases (like diabetes/hypertension), in some individuals suicide increase, etc. (etc)


Health systems do not face the reality representing the consequences of confinement by the pandemic. Depression, psychosis, anxiety, dependence to alcohol and drugs. It is necessary to implement a system of care for affected patients from the psychological point of view.

General Surgery

Easy access and addiction behind closed doors. Also financial stress from job loss, increased domestic violence, limited socialization opportunities in lockdown.

Pediatrics (excluding surgery)

Alcohol consumption, especially among women of child-bearing age may increase the incidence of ‘Feta-alcohol syndrome and ‘Feta-alcohol effect’ These are preventable cause of mental handicaps in children, and the latter is difficult to diagnose without history, often resulting in anti-social behavior in these children. This is in addition to an increase in automobile accidents, & other illnesses!

Pediatrics (excluding surgery) – Neonatal & Perinatal Medicine

In Germany alcohol is drug no. 1.