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      Changes in Alcohol Use in Denmark during the Initial Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Further Evidence of Polarization of Drinking Responses


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          The year 2020 was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Policy responses to COVID-19 affected social and economic life and the availability of alcohol. Previous research has shown an overall small decrease in alcohol use in Denmark in the first months of the pandemic. The present paper focused on identifying which subgroups of individuals had decreased or increased their consumption.

          Materials and Methods

          Data were collected between May and July 2020 ( n = 2,566 respondents, convenience sample). Weights were applied to reflect the actual Danish general population. Variables included the pre-pandemic alcohol consumption, change in alcohol consumption in the past month, socio-demographics, and reported economic consequences. Responses to a single item assessing changes in alcohol consumption in the past month were classified as no change, increase, or decrease in consumption. Regression models investigated how changes in consumption were linked to pre-pandemic drinking levels, socio-demographics (gender, age groups, education), and reported economic consequences.


          While 39% of participants reported decreased consumption levels and 34% had stable levels, 27% increased consumption. Characteristics associated with changes in consumption were associated with both increases and decreases in consumption: younger people, those with higher consumption levels before the pandemic, and those with lower education more often both reported increases as well as decreases in consumption.


          We confirmed that more people decreased rather than increased their alcohol consumption in the first few months of the pandemic in Denmark. Characteristics associated with changes in consumption such as younger age, higher consumption levels, and lower education demonstrated a polarization of drinking since these were associated with both increases and decreases in consumption. Public health authorities should monitor alcohol use and other health behaviours for increased risks during the pandemic.

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          Most cited references49

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          COVID-19 and mental health: A review of the existing literature

          Highlights • Subsyndromal mental health concerns are a common response to the COVID-19 outbreak. • These responses affect both the general public and healthcare workers. • Depressive and anxiety symptoms have been reported in 16–28% of subjects screened. • Novel methods of consultation, such as online services, can be helpful for these patients. • There is a need for further long-term research in this area, especially from other countries
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            The AUDIT alcohol consumption questions (AUDIT-C): an effective brief screening test for problem drinking. Ambulatory Care Quality Improvement Project (ACQUIP). Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test.

            To evaluate the 3 alcohol consumption questions from the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C) as a brief screening test for heavy drinking and/or active alcohol abuse or dependence. Patients from 3 Veterans Affairs general medical clinics were mailed questionnaires. A random, weighted sample of Health History Questionnaire respondents, who had 5 or more drinks over the past year, were eligible for telephone interviews (N = 447). Heavy drinkers were oversampled 2:1. Patients were excluded if they could not be contacted by telephone, were too ill for interviews, or were female (n = 54). Areas under receiver operating characteristic curves (AUROCs) were used to compare mailed alcohol screening questionnaires (AUDIT-C and full AUDIT) with 3 comparison standards based on telephone interviews: (1) past year heavy drinking (>14 drinks/week or > or =5 drinks/ occasion); (2) active alcohol abuse or dependence according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Revised Third Edition, criteria; and (3) either. Of 393 eligible patients, 243 (62%) completed AUDIT-C and interviews. For detecting heavy drinking, AUDIT-C had a higher AUROC than the full AUDIT (0.891 vs 0.881; P = .03). Although the full AUDIT performed better than AUDIT-C for detecting active alcohol abuse or dependence (0.811 vs 0.786; P<.001), the 2 questionnaires performed similarly for detecting heavy drinking and/or active abuse or dependence (0.880 vs 0.881). Three questions about alcohol consumption (AUDIT-C) appear to be a practical, valid primary care screening test for heavy drinking and/or active alcohol abuse or dependence.
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              Ranking the effectiveness of worldwide COVID-19 government interventions

              Assessing the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is critical to inform future preparedness response plans. Here we quantify the impact of 6,068 hierarchically coded NPIs implemented in 79 territories on the effective reproduction number, Rt, of COVID-19. We propose a modelling approach that combines four computational techniques merging statistical, inference and artificial intelligence tools. We validate our findings with two external datasets recording 42,151 additional NPIs from 226 countries. Our results indicate that a suitable combination of NPIs is necessary to curb the spread of the virus. Less disruptive and costly NPIs can be as effective as more intrusive, drastic, ones (for example, a national lockdown). Using country-specific 'what-if' scenarios, we assess how the effectiveness of NPIs depends on the local context such as timing of their adoption, opening the way for forecasting the effectiveness of future interventions.

                Author and article information

                Eur Addict Res
                Eur Addict Res
                European Addiction Research
                S. Karger AG (Allschwilerstrasse 10, P.O. Box · Postfach · Case postale, CH–4009, Basel, Switzerland · Schweiz · Suisse, Phone: +41 61 306 11 11, Fax: +41 61 306 12 34, karger@karger.com )
                11 May 2022
                11 May 2022
                : 28
                : 4
                : 297-308
                [1] aCentre for Alcohol and Drug Research, Aarhus University, Copenhagen, Denmark
                [2] bInstitute of Biometry and Clinical Epidemiology, Charité − Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
                [3] cUnit for Health Promotion Research, Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Esbjerg, Denmark
                [4] dAlcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, California, USA
                [5] eInstitute of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany
                [6] fCenter for Interdisciplinary Addiction Research (ZIS), Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), Hamburg, Germany
                [7] gDepartment of Psychiatry, Medical Faculty, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
                [8] hInstitute for Mental Health Policy Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                [9] iDalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                [10] jFaculty of Medicine, Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Medical Sciences Building, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                [11] kCampbell Family Mental Health Research Institute, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                [12] lDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                [13] mI.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University (Sechenov University), Moscow, Russian Federation
                [14] nBerlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany
                Author notes
                Copyright © 2022 by S. Karger AG, Basel

                This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC). Usage and distribution for commercial purposes requires written permission. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                : 14 November 2021
                : 18 March 2022
                : 2022
                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 3, References: 52, Pages: 12
                Research Article

                Health & Social care
                alcohol consumption,alcohol use disorders identification test-consumption,sars-cov-2 pandemic,covid-19,denmark


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