A Consultant Psychologist at the College of Medicine, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, Dr Adebimpe Oluwafisayo, has warned that excessive alcohol consumption during the lockdown period could trigger risk-taking behaviours, mental health issues and violence.
Oluwafisayo, in an interview urged the federal and state governments to enforce measures that limit alcohol consumption during lockdown period.
“Alcohol is known to be harmful to health in general, and is well understood to increase the risk of injury and violence, including intimate partner violence, and can cause alcohol poisoning. At times of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol consumption can exacerbate health vulnerability, risk-taking behaviours, mental health issues and violence.
The World Health Organisation reminds people that drinking alcohol does not protect them from COVID-19, and encourages governments to enforce measures that limit alcohol consumption.”
Fear and misinformation have generated a dangerous myth that consuming high-strength alcohol can kill the COVID-19 virus. It does not. Consuming any alcohol poses health risks, but consuming high-strength ethyl alcohol, particularly if it has been adulterated with methanol, can result in severe health consequences, including death.
“Alcohol consumption is associated with a range of communicable and non-communicable diseases and mental health disorders, which can make a person more vulnerable to COVID-19. In particular, alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes.
Therefore, people should minimise their alcohol consumption at any time, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Oluwafisayo said.
The Consultant Psychologist added that people who have an alcohol use disorder were vulnerable, especially when in self-isolation, calling on medical and treatment services to be alert and ready to respond to any person in need.
“Existing rules and regulations to protect health and reduce the harm caused by alcohol, such as restricting access, should be upheld and even reinforced during the COVID-19 pandemic and emergencies; while any relaxation of regulations or their enforcement should be avoided. Like all mental illnesses, alcoholism thrives in a culture of isolation,” she said.