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Doctors are raising concerns that some coping mechanisms developed during the pandemic may now have serious long-term effects.

And when it comes to alcohol women may be at real risk of damaging their health.

People sister station WCVB talked to giving voice to what research has shown — drinking at home has been spiking since the start of the pandemic.

“So like normally to go relax you go out to dinner or a movie and you couldn’t do that anymore so having a cocktail or bottle of wine makes things feel special,” Emily Nasiff said.

Experts said they’re now seeing those stress relief methods turn into concerning habits and even health problems.

“I was in fact advised not only by my doctor who’s standing close to me but by my daughter she said, ‘dad perhaps you oughtta space out those bourbons on ice’ … and I’ve taken her advice,” Roy Einhorn said.

Some doctors are seeing a substance abuse increase in women, said Dr. Sarah Wakeman, an addiction medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“I see people coming into the hospital are coming in to care for problems related to substance use, and we have definitely seen an increase, particularly in younger folks and women with serious alcohol-related problems,” Wakeman said.

Wakeman says heavy drinking has spiked overall, but, for women, it’s even more pronounced with their heavy drinking days surging 41%.

“So, I think, the many challenges of the pandemic being a caretaker, trying to work, parenting, and schooling and all of the challenges in some ways disproportionately borne by women and I think we’re seeing that in some of the ways that people are coping with that increased stress,” Wakeman said.

How do you know if you’re falling into a high-risk category?

Wakeman said for women, concern starts at having more than seven drinks a week — for men, more than 14.

In terms of serving size, it’s 12 ounces for a beer and 4 ounces for a glass of wine.

Wakeman said the consequences of too much alcohol can be dire.

“Drinking more than that over time can be associated with things like breast cancer, cancers of the stomach, problems with the liver, high blood pressure. Things like that,” Wakeman said.

The goal is to spot the warning signs before you get to those health problems.

“It’s really, the hallmarks are sort of loss of control, a compulsive element, like a feeling that you really can’t stop. You’ve tried to cut back, you’ve tried to make changes, and you weren’t able to,” Wakeman said. “This is not the sort of thing where once you have a problem, you’re never going to get well. We know that most people, absolutely, will get well.”

Wakeman said she’s started to see people under 30 experiencing things like liver scarring from alcohol abuse — something expects said they see in patients in their 50s and 60s.

She said the first step someone can take if they think they need to make changes is simple: Track how much you’re drinking and be mindful.

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