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      The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic and Lockdown on Alcohol Consumption: A Perspective From Hair Analysis


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          Introduction and Aims: The increase in stress levels, social confinement, and addiction's physical consequences play an essential role in the proliferation of drug abuse. In this context, the Covid-19 pandemic produced remarkable effects on those individuals prone to addictions, especially to alcohol. Alcohol is linked to multiple dangerous conditions such as social issues, severe medical conditions, and road accidents. The determination of ethylglucuronide (EtG) in hair is frequently performed to test and monitor chronic excessive alcohol intake conditions, as it allows differentiation among low-risk/moderate drinkers, and excessive/chronic drinkers. Our study aimed to explore hair EtG levels in a controlled population to assess the impact of Covid-19 lockdown on alcohol intake along March-May 2020.

          Materials and Methods: EtG levels were measured in all hair samples collected in the months following April 2020 to evaluate the behaviors related to alcohol intake along with the time frame from March to May 2020. The measured concentration distributions for each month were compared with those reported in the same month during the previous 4 years (2016–2019). The dataset was built to highlight possible differences between genders, and the different categories of alcohol consumption, separately.

          Results: The samples collected from April to August 2020 (500 < N <1,100 per month) showed an increase in the percentage of subjects classified as abstinent/low-risk drinkers (from 60 up to 79%) and a decrease of subjects classified as moderate and chronic drinkers (−12 and −7%, respectively) when compared to the previous 4 years. A decrease in the overall mean value of EtG in the period April–June 2020 was observed, while the EtG levels of both June and July 2020 provided an increasing trend for chronic/excessive consumers (+27 and +19% for June and July 2020, respectively). A peculiar rise in the EtG levels of moderate and chronic/excessive female consumers was observed along April–June 2020, too.

          Discussion and Conclusions: Behavioral and social studies generally report a decrease in alcohol consumption during the Covid-19 lockdown. However, people already suffering from drug or alcohol addictions before Covid-19 pandemic seemingly enhance their harmful behavior. Our data from April to August 2020 are consistent with both suppositions. Our observations confirm once again the utility of EtG to investigate the patterns of alcohol consumption in the population.

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            Covid-19 and the Subsequent Lockdown Modified Dietary Habits of Almost Half the Population in an Italian Sample

            The Covid-19 pandemic led to lockdowns in several parts of the world and, hence, changed some daily habits, including social interactions, the ability to perform sports, and—possibly—diet. The Italian government established and promulgated lockdown policies on 9 March 2020. We aim at assessing the effects of Covid-19-induced confinement policies on self-reported food consumption of self-selected Italians by means of a questionnaire that was created and diffused by the Internet. Nearly half, i.e., 49.6% of responders did not substantially modify their diet during the lockdown; however, 46.1% of them reported that they were eating more during confinement, and 19.5% gained weight. In particular, we report an increase in “comfort food” consumption, notably chocolate, ice-cream, and desserts (42.5%) and salty snacks (23.5%). In addition, 42.7% percent of this cohort attributed this increase to higher anxiety levels. Related to this, 36.8% of responders reported a decrease in alcohol consumption, even though 10.1% of them reported an increase. Interestingly, 21.2% of responders increased their consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables. Only 33.5% of those who declared decreased consumption attributed this change of diet to lower availability and ease of purchasing such items. Equally interesting, over half of responders, i.e., 56.2%, admitted that fruit and vegetables did not appeal to them while in lockdown. Purchases of ready-made meals were reduced by nearly 50%. Future large-scale similar studies should be undertaken worldwide and will help public health authorities shape their reactions to future, unavoidable pandemics.
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              Alcohol abuse/dependence symptoms among hospital employees exposed to a SARS outbreak.

              The aim of this study was to examine alcohol abuse/dependence symptoms among hospital employees exposed to a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, and the relationship between types of exposure to the SARS outbreak and subsequent alcohol abuse/dependence symptoms.

                Author and article information

                Front Psychiatry
                Front Psychiatry
                Front. Psychiatry
                Frontiers in Psychiatry
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                06 April 2021
                06 April 2021
                : 12
                [1] 1Dipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi di Torino , Torino, Italy
                [2] 2Centro Regionale Antidoping e di Tossicologia “A. Bertinaria” , Torino, Italy
                Author notes

                Edited by: Ornella Corazza, University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

                Reviewed by: Eric Zorrilla, The Scripps Research Institute, United States; Sulaf Assi, Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom

                *Correspondence: Alberto Salomone alberto.salomone@ 123456unito.it

                This article was submitted to Addictive Disorders, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry

                Copyright © 2021 Alladio, Visintin, Lombardo, Testi, Salomone and Vincenti.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 44, Pages: 9, Words: 6182
                Original Research

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                ethyl glucuronide,hair test,alcohol,covid-19,addiction
                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                ethyl glucuronide, hair test, alcohol, covid-19, addiction


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