Doctors see increase in acute alcoholic hepatitis due to changed drinking habits during COVID-19 pandemic

As some people's drinking habits increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors have seen more cases of acute alcoholic hepatitis, especially in younger generations.

Alcohol sales have increased during the pandemic.

"A distributor that we work with, they had a booming year last year because of the amount of wine, beer, and spirits that were sold," said Kristen Bye, with MAWBY Sparkling Wine.

While sales and profits are increasing, that's not a good thing for the medical community.

Dr. Mohamad Rasm Al Sibae the medical director of Liver Transplant at Beaumont Health said more people are suffering from inflamed livers.

"We have seen almost 30% uptick this year compared to the last year," he said.

A University of Michigan study found an association between COVID-19 and new waiting list registrations, as well as liver transplantation for alcoholic hepatitis in the U.S.

Doctors believe that several factors have caused an increase in drinking, including the inability to leave home and a lack of social engagement. They voiced concerns about how much alcohol is too much.

"More than 14 drinks for females, 20 drinks a week for males is considered to be excessive," Al Sibae said.

Beaumont said it works to assist people who need help as a result of drinking.

"We are one of the transplant centers where we offer an acute alcoholic hepatitis program, which is where we evaluate a patient for transplant even if they have not met the six-month sobriety," Al Sibae said.

Learn more about Beaumont's transplant services here.