INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Social isolation and quarantine caused millions of Americans to turn to alcohol to cope with pandemic-induced anxiety, depression, and stress.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the average number of alcohol-related deaths increased annually just over 2% between 1999 and 2017.
In 2019, 78,927 people died from alcohol-related injuries. That number jumped to almost 100,000 in 2020.
This translates into an almost 25% increase in Americans who lost their lives to the disease compared to previous years.
News 8 spoke with Lindsey Bland, addiction program manager at Eskenazi Health, who wants people to know the first thing a patient can expect when they come to Eskenazi looking for help.
“Treatment is available and recovery is 100% possible,” Bland said. “When someone shows up and walks into our door looking for that initial assessment, we are going to celebrate that with them. We want to reduce the stigma in our community as much as possible, and help people understand that people are just trying to get by.”
Bland says she has seen an increase in clients coming to Eskenazi during the pandemic abusing alcohol.
There’s also been a rise in emergency use visits due to alcohol poisoning, and patients coming in for detox.
According to the Mayo Clinic, alcohol use disorder can be mild, moderate or severe.
Signs and symptoms a person may be abusing alcohol include being unable to limit the amount they drink, unsuccessful attempts at cutting down, and not being able to fulfill obligations at work, school or at home.