The memes about drinking more during the pandemic are all fun and games until health consequences show up. The University of Michigan’s Dr. Jessica Mellinger says that cases of alcoholic liver disease are up 30% over the last year alone. This trend has spiked most notably in younger women.
“We’re seeing kids in their late 20s and early 30s with a disease that we previously thought was kind of exclusive to middle age,” Dr. Mellinger told NPR.
Some suggest that women’s bodies process alcohol differently, which is why the disease shows up faster. To be sure, the pandemic has hit women harder as more domestic and homeschooling responsibilities fall squarely on their shoulders. But in order to cope, the mommy memes tout wine and cocktails, which we all know increase anxiety and disrupt sleep, rather than actually promote relaxation and coping.
We don’t want to be a wet blanket because we believe that alcohol can be an art form and a beautiful piece of many cultures. But it is a terrible coping mechanism and perhaps we should all be a bit more careful about our language around “needing it” to cope with everyday life.
Maybe you can respond to a friend’s text about a stressful day without a cocktail emoji and instead change the language about alcohol from “needing it” to “appreciating it” in smaller amounts? Just a thought.