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Alcohol consumption during COVID-19 pandemic and MS brain health

alcohol
6 May 2020

Recently-released new data shows one in five Australians have bought more alcohol than usual during the COVID-19 pandemic, most people are drinking more and have concerns about their alcohol use and the drinking of others in their household.

National polling by YouGov Galaxy, commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), shows that 20 per cent of Australians purchased more alcohol and 70 per cent are drinking more alcohol than normal, with one third (33 per cent) now using alcohol daily.

The poll found that almost a third of people (32 per cent) who bought more alcohol are concerned about their own drinking or someone in their household’s drinking, and 28 per cent are now drinking alcohol to cope with anxiety and stress.

MS Australia is concerned about these findings and their potential impact on the MS community.  To help protect general health and wellbeing, we want the MS community to keep an eye on their alcohol intake, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This is a good opportunity to remind the MS community that positive lifestyle choices can help to keep your brain as healthy as possible.

Having a healthy brain that functions well is essential for people with MS. One of the six positive steps you can take to keep your brain as healthy as possible, whatever your MS diagnosis, includes “watch how much you drink”.

If your anxiety and stress is on the rise, due to for example, the directive to physical distance during the pandemic, approaches such as more exercise, mindfulness activities and healthier eating options may help.  There’s lots of help out there and we don’t want the pandemic to result in habits that reduce brain health, such as increased alcohol intake and smoking.

And if you’re worried about someone else, why not reach out to them with a quick call or message?  You may be able to help!

It’s always a good idea for people with MS to discuss their alcohol intake level with their healthcare professional and a timely reminder that help is close at hand, by calling the MS organisation in your state/territory for advice, support and referral if necessary.

For more details about the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) study, please visit:
http://fare.org.au/many-australians-using-more-alcohol-and-worried-about-household-drinking/

To find out more about Brain Health: A Guide for People with MS and the six ways to lead a brain health lifestyle, please visit:
https://www.msbrainhealth.org/resources

To find your nearest MS support and services, please visit: https://www.msaustralia.org.au/ (and scroll down to the map of Australia)

If you or anyone you know needs help, please contact: Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636