OBJECTIVES: To assess alcohol use and perceived change in alcohol consumption (before and during the pandemic) in Brazilians during the COVID-19 pandemic, its correlates, and association with depressive, anxiety and co-occurring depressive and anxiety symptoms (D&A).
METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study comprising 992 individuals in self-isolation. A self-reported questionnaire was used to assess whether participants were drinking during self-isolation and whether they changed their drinking behavior (drinking less, more, or no change) from before to during the pandemic. D&A symptoms were assessed using the Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories (BDI and BAI).
RESULTS: A total of 68.5% of participants reported alcohol consumption during the pandemic, and 22.7% of these reported increased alcohol use. Smoking was positively associated with alcohol consumption during the pandemic. Alcohol consumption was associated with anxiety (OR=1.40, 95% CI 1.06 - 1.85, p<0.01) and D&A (OR=1.38, 95% CI 1.02 - 1.87, p=0.033) symptoms.
CONCLUSIONS: Drinking during self-isolation was prevalent and associated with risk factors for alcohol use disorders. The long-term effects of high drinking rates and increased consumption should be proactively monitored and assessed.