LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Women have been turning to alcohol for relief from the COVID-19 pandemic at alarming rates, with a 41 percent increase in heavy-drinking episodes since March in a report published by the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open.

“With alcohol being able to be delivered to your home and some looseness that kept people from drinking excessively like going into an office, we have definitely seen an increase in admissions that’s solely alcohol use," said Michelle McGinnis, the chief clinical officer at Landmark Recovery.

Alcohol addiction can be costly financially, physically, and mentally. McGinnis said that it can lead to depressive symptoms, sleeplessness, and increases to conflicts at home.

“Your ability to do things that are expected of you in your world go down,” McGinnis said.

Dry January is a movement that aims to help people hit the reset button and take a step back. McGinnis said that the campaign is more than just social media driven. She said it is a meaningful time for self-reflection.

“It is not about white knuckling through. It is about self-evaluating what relationship you have with alcohol,” said McGinnis.

University of Sussex found that Dry January has had an impact. In 2015, it reported participants in a study felt high rates of a sense of achievement with people reporting benefits like saving money and positive behavioral changes.

“People lose weight and they save money,” McGinnis said. “They feel better, sleep better. Concentration is increased. There are real benefits outside of accomplishing a task.”

She hopes that this story generates attention and that people will reach out if they are in need of professional help.

“If there’s anything that helps people improve their lives and improves their well-being, I’m behind it,” she said.