Health Officials Worry People Are Drinking Too Much In Isolation


Americans seem determined to booze their way out of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to stocking up on food and cleaning supplies, people are buying enormous amounts of alcohol to last them through an extended period of social distancing. But that's got health professionals fighting COVID-19 plenty concerned for the well-being of people outside the hospitals.

Isolation is unnatural and has been found to bring out depressive feelings, even in people who aren't prone to mental illness. But alcohol only amplifies that negativity, Dr. Lisa Tank tells 710 WOR New York's Len Berman and Michael Riedel.

Dr. Tank is the Chief Medical Officer at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. She says the HUMC network has established a number of avenues for people to reach out for help while social distancing.

"Psycho-social health is so crucial, especially human beings are meant to be social and interacting. When you are in an isolation environment, that definitely can take a toll," she said. "That's why at Hackensack, what we've done is also we've created telemedicine and there's also tele-psychiatry...not only for our patients, but also for our team members.

The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, preys on weakened or compromised immune systems. In addition to its potential pitfalls for mental health, alcohol has been found to inhibit sleep and weaken the immune system.

Your mental health is paramount to your physical well-being, Dr. Tank says.

"If you need a psychologist, there are so many avenues available now through your FaceTime that can continue to support and continue to talk you through this stressful environment," she added.

Listen to the full conversation in the player above or here via iHeartRadio.

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