Alcohol use disorder has been a greater challenge than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, as substance use skyrocketed. As a result, no matter the reason for hospitalization, a greater percentage of hospitalized people also had Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD.) For physicians, this presented challenges. In addition to being more vulnerable to COVID-19, doctors worldwide saw a twofold increase in admissions due to alcohol-related liver disease.
18% of patients who were hospitalized during the pandemic also had alcohol use disorder. In the COVID wards, the numbers were even higher.
Patients Sicker Due to Lack of Care
Whether a patient had an injury or illness, including COVID-19, they often had to battle symptoms of alcohol addiction as well. But many, upon admission, were reluctant to reveal their drinking patterns. Without this vital information, and sometimes with an unconscious patient, diagnosis is more complicated.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented significant challenges to health care services. Hospitals have reported a twofold increase in admissions due to alcohol-related liver disease; patients are sicker and higher numbers are requiring high dependency care,” Mohsen Subhani, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust in England wrote about the trend. “More representative data on the impact of COVID-19 on alcohol use disorder (AUD) among hospitalized patients is lacking.”
Doctors say a high percentage of people with AUD also had co-occurring mental health disorders.
Alcohol Use Disorder Doesn’t Discriminate
People with alcohol use disorder who landed in the hospital during the COVID pandemic tended to be younger, with more stable social lives, and otherwise healthy. Many of them were in their 30’s and 40’s and had a strong family life. They tended to have established careers and solid finances. But, unfortunately, addiction doesn’t care about that. Alcohol Use Disorder is a disease of the brain.
People from every walk of life can have alcohol use disorder. The great news is that there’s help available. If you or somebody you love needs help, we’re here for you! Detox is the first step to getting well again.
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