Corona crisis at home: how much alcohol is normal?

In times of Corona, people buy significantly more alcohol. But too much beer and wine can weaken the immune system or damage the psyche. How much is too much

Enjoyment only in moderation: Even if times are difficult, alcohol is not a cure for anxiety and depression

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The girls' evening at the Italian restaurant, the after-work beer in the pub, the gin and tonic in the bar - all situations that are no longer applicable. But what doesn't seem to be going away is alcohol: According to various figures, people are buying significantly more of it than before in the corona crisis.

Sales increase by up to 55 percent

Figures from the market research institute GfK, which are available to Spiegel, show, for example, that Germans bought 34 percent more wine between the end of February and the end of March than in the same weeks the year before. There was also an increase in purchases of beer (11.5 percent), clear spirits such as gin or grain (31.2 percent), sherry and port wine (47.5 percent) and mixed alcoholic drinks (87.1 percent).

The trend is similar in other countries. In the USA, according to market researcher Nielsen, sales of alcohol rose by 55 percent in the last week of March. In Spain, Russia and Brazil, too, people buy more alcohol than usual. And in South Africa or India, however, sales have been stopped by law.

The question that remains unanswered at the moment is whether alcohol consumption from restaurants, pubs and bars is only shifting to one's own four walls, or whether people actually drink more. But what changes in each case is the situation in which this happens.

Fears are washed away with alcohol

The motives for drinking may change when consumption moves home, says Ursula Havemann-Reinecke, senior physician at the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Göttingen University Medical Center. "But that is first and foremost a hypothesis that needs to be investigated."

But the corona crisis could certainly lead to uncertainty among people and trigger fears: "Existential fears, fears of loss, fears about the job or fear of no longer being able to pay rent and an apartment. Under the current circumstances there are many problems that are more severe become." You have to be careful that consumption doesn't get out of hand.