Consumption of liquor can weaken immunity, increase chances of COVID-19 infection

New Delhi [India] May 6 (ANI): Consumption of alcohol, especially its heavy use, weakens the immune system and reduces body's ability to cope with infectious diseases such as COVID-19, say doctors.

Dr Manish Jain, a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at BLK Hospital, said that turning to alcohol to relieve the stress induced by the circumstances created by the coronavirus is not a good idea.

"When we consume alcohol directly or indirectly it increases our stress. For instance, when we drink, we are less vigilant, not able to act quickly and not able to make decisions wisely which is dangerous for you as well as your family and community in these times," Dr Jain told ANI.

He said alcohol has both short-term and long term effects.

"It affects almost every organ of the body. Alcohol use, especially heavy use, weakens the immune system and reduces the body's ability to cope with infectious diseases. People with an alcohol use disorder are at greater risk of COVID-19 not only because of the impact of alcohol on their health but also because they are more likely to experience homelessness and incarceration," Dr Jain said.

Dr Rajiv Mehta, Psychiatrist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said stress is basically a biochemical reaction in the brain.

"It (liquor) will not help with the stress. People need to understand alcohol is not killing stress. It is killing you. There is a part called nucleus accumbens which gets a reward when the alcohol goes inside the system and it cuts you off from the conscious brain and you get into the subconscious. The subconscious part is generally relaxed so you feel relaxed and people get used to that kind of reward," he said.

He advised people to adopt other ways to relieve stress such as practising yoga, reading books and exercising.

Asked about the people especially from lower-income sections, who may not go for books or have other options to de-stress, he said they can seek medical help if they do not have other means to reduce their alcohol addiction.

Referring to the lockdown, he said: "People need to understand if you can stay without liquor for 45 days, you can stay without it for a longer period." (ANI)