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Alarming alcohol abuse rising under COVID-19 lockdown: study 

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Alarming alcohol abuse rising under COVID-19 lockdown: study 

Americans, particularly young adults, are increasingly turning to alcohol to cope with life during a viral pandemic, a new study shows.

Researchers at the University of Arizona are sounding the alarm on a spike in substance abuse as Americans have endured a year of devastating illness, isolation and job loss caused by the global coronavirus outbreak. Their new study revealed trends during lockdown pointing to “hazardous or harmful alcohol consumption,” as well as an increased likelihood of developing alcohol dependence or a “severe” substance abuse disorder.

The results are published in the latest volume of Psychiatry Research.

“Being under lockdown during a worldwide pandemic has been hard on everyone, and many people are relying on greater quantities of alcohol to ease their distress,” said lead author Dr. Scott Killgore in a university press statement. Killgore’s team surveyed roughly 1,000 per month — a total of 5,931 adults — from all 50 states and DC between April and September 2020.

“We found that younger people were the most susceptible to increased alcohol use during the pandemic, which could set them on the dangerous path toward long-term alcohol dependence,” Killgore said.

Each month, participants were asked to answer a 10-question survey to investigate their drinking habits, whether their behavior is consistent with “dependence” or if they’ve ever harmed or been harmed as a result of alcohol use. Scores assessed by the test model, called the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) — something you can try at home — range from 0 to 40, with the highest points (20 and up) indicating “severe” alcohol abuse.

At the end of the study, researchers had found that an increase in “hazardous” alcohol use, from 21% among April’s cohort to 40.7% in September. Apparent alcohol dependence rose from 7.9% to 29.1%; those who scored 20 and up on the test jumped from 3.9% to 17.4% by fall.

Researchers also included responses from volunteers who had not been living under lockdown restrictions, and found their drinking habits had remained steady during the study period.

The high health risks caused by alcohol abuse goes without saying, but Killgore worries especially about spouses and children, he said.

“Being cooped up with family for weeks and months without a break can be difficult, but when excess alcohol gets mixed in, it can become a recipe for increased aggressive behavior and domestic violence.”

Signs of addiction and problem drinking have never been easier to hide, as the work-from-home lifestyle can make it difficult for colleagues and friends to spot a co-worker in trouble.

Killgore’s bigger-picture conclusion is that functional daily drinking may also be delaying the recovery of our decimated economy.

“Having a few drinks while ‘on the clock’ at home can lead to a situation of ‘presenteeism,’ which means that a person may be sitting through Zoom meetings and responding to a few emails, but may not actually be contributing productively to their job,” said Killgore. “This could severely hamper our ability to pull out of this crisis quickly and on a strong economic footing.”

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Are the Cuomo harassment allegations just political correctness?

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Are the Cuomo harassment allegations just political correctness?

I’m tired of the hypocrisy of calls for Governor Cuomo to step down because of allegations that he made a joke about eating a sausage, or tried to kiss someone. If everyone who has ever made an off-color joke were fired, the unemployment line would extend around the globe. No one is accusing him of sexual assault or that they were fired. We’ve gone too far with political correctness, don’t you think?

This topic is too important and sensitive to do it justice in a pithy way in the space that we have, but here’s what I can say: Most people, bosses and employers, do the right thing. They know how to work together and treat people with respect. I also know that there has always been bad behavior, and it still goes on today. The current backlash is because women have been silenced and unsupported for too long. No more. But the punishment needs to fit the crime, so no, not every transgression deserves to destroy a career. However, with the heightened awareness of these issues, if you are a person in power and make stupid comments with sexual innuendo, then you will find it very difficult to find any sympathy with the excuse that you didn’t mean to offend anyone.

My company shuttered last year due to COVID-19, so I’m seeking a new opportunity. LinkedIn seems the most reputable resource, yet I also receive alerts from other job sites which often don’t correlate with LinkedIn. How accurate are online job listings?

My friends, I know how hard it is to look for a job. There are numerous job sites and it can be difficult to navigate them all. My experience is that the major job boards are credible. However, you and millions of other job seekers are doing the same thing. Your resume is likely being sorted by AI software before reaching a human. Should you scour online listings? Yes. Should you rely on one-click apply, sending off your resume and calling it a day? No. Networking with your contacts (and their contacts) is still the best route for most job seekers. If you apply online, try to find a connection in the company directly and inquire that way, too. Employers will appreciate your tenacity.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive and is dedicated to helping New Yorkers get back to work. E-mail your questions to [email protected] Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande and at GoToGreg.com.

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‘Arses’ on the line? Brits fear for Scrabble crackdown on ‘offensive’ words

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‘Arses’ on the line? Brits fear for Scrabble crackdown on ‘offensive’ words

Toy giant Mattel plans to scrub the U.K. versions of Scrabble of hundreds of “offensive” words — leaving game-loving Brits clutching their “boobies” for fear of losing their “arses.”

Other prized words, such as “goolies,” “wrinklies,” “boffing,” “farting” and “fatso,” may also wind up on the wrong side of the official Scrabble lexicon, British aficionados of the little square tiles now worry.

“The woke brigade is ruining our game,” two-time British Scrabble champ Craig Beevers griped to The Scottish Sun.

“I feel this will be the final nail in the coffin for a lot of competitive players,” Beevers added.
Mattel, which owns the rights to Scrabble outside the U.S., isn’t tipping its rack of letters just yet — but The Sun claims the game maker’s in-progress list of forbidden words will run to 400, and reportedly be a worldwide push.

“In Scrabble — as in life — the words we choose matter,” a Mattel exec told the outlet.
Brett Smitheram, a rep for the Association of British Scrabble Players, told The Post Saturday that words are indeed “being compiled for deletion” by Mattel.

“It’s not the Scrabble associations doing it — more that Mattel has decided it has to be done and are compiling the list themselves,” said Smitheram, who is the 2016 World Scrabble Champion.

“Scrabble associations are left with the choice of accepting the new list or really ceasing to be able to use the name “Scrabble” at all.”

Mattel seems intent on removing words that might be seen as derogatory or rude, Smitheram said.

But some alleged offenders may well be salvaged.

“I don’t think that ‘farting’ or similar will be removed,” Smitheram said.

The list is still under discussion, he continued — but not by members of his association’s “Dictionary Committee,” which he said has resigned in protest from the effort.

“This decision isn’t being made by lexicographers,” Smitheram scoffed. “So it’s not likely to create a technically robust word list.”

The effort is reminiscent of a purge of “offensive” Scrabble words from the U.S. version of the game last year.

That time, The North American Scrabble Players Association eliminated 236 words, including racial slurs and other bigoted terms from the official Scrabble word list used at tournaments, a culling made with the support of Hasbro, which owns the rights to the game in North America.

Mattel reps did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Al Capone’s niece recalls him fondly, says his $100M is stashed somewhere

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Al Capone’s niece recalls him fondly, says his $100M is stashed somewhere

Al Capone’s 80-year-old great-niece says she believes the legend that $100 million of the Chicago mobster’s money may be stashed somewhere but said knowledge of the location died with him.

“If it’s anywhere it would be Chicago,” Deirdre Capone told the Sun. “I also believe they have a lot of dealings in Cuba. I believe a lot of money was in safety deposit boxes in Cuba. But I have to let that be now.”

She told the Sun from her home in Florida that she’s “probably the last person on this Earth” to have really known him. She spoke of a new movie about her beloved “Uncle Al” being released on Netflix this week.

British actor Tom Hardy, complete with prosthetics, stars in the biopic “Capone.”

Deirdre, who was 7 when Capone died following a stroke in January, 1947, says the gangster had a sweet side and liked to teach her how to make spaghetti.

Al Capone was her grandfather Ralph’s younger brother.

Ralph was nicknamed “Bottles” for his role in the Capone bootleg empire, the Chicago Outfit, which made its fortune during Prohibition. Deirdre said Ralph was in charge but Al was the front man.

“Al loved the limelight, loved to be out with a beautiful woman on his arm. My grandfather hated it,” she said.

She insisted her relatives had nothing to do with the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, in which seven rival mobsters were killed giving Al Capone the title of “Public Enemy No 1.”

Capone wound up in Alcatraz and Deirdre says he loathed his stint in the island prison. “He couldn’t talk about it, it was so horrific,” she says.

Hardy portrays Capone in the period after his release from the prison — the last years of his life. The mobster died on January 25, 1947 at age 48.

According to the movie, Capone is beset with dementia, with the mental age of a 12-year-old.

Deirdre agrees that by the time he was released his mental state had deteriorated shockingly, but insists this was due to mercury injections she claims were given to him to treat syphilis.

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