The conclusions of the study, led by researchers at the Medical School of the University of Minho (UMinho) Pedro Morgado and Maria Picó-Perez, to which Lusa had access, indicate that the consumption of "gambling" and cannabis also recorded an increase from the confinement started in March 2020 to the one started in January 2021.
The same research highlights the "adaptation" to the confinements as it took place, since in both stress levels, anxiety and depressive symptoms, which reached identical levels in 2020 and 2021, were "decreasing over time".
"This phenomenon replicates the reaction with adaptation that had already been observed in the first confinement," the researchers concluded.
As for the respondents' habits, the research points to an increase in smoking and "junk food" consumption (12.8 percent both) between the first and second confinement. Alcohol consumption also had a "particular increase" (11.2 percent), being "particularly notable among men, who increased their consumption of alcoholic drinks by 22.6 percent".
The consumption of energy drinks increased by 6.3 percent, the consumption of games of chance increased by 2.3 percent and the use of cannabis increased in 1 percent of participants".
On the other hand, obsessive symptoms (measured, for example, by excessive hand washing), the text points out, "have systematically decreased since the start of the pandemic, showing significantly lower values in 2021 than those observed in March 2020."
"Despite having more knowledge about the virus and being better prepared for the difficulties of confinement, we are also more tired and we saw the expectation that 2021 would be much better than 2020 disappointed", says Pedro Morgado.
According to the researcher "the human being has an extraordinary ability to adapt and that, despite the adversities, the symptoms were reduced throughout the confinement".
The research also points out that in February 2021 more than 20 percent of the sample had ongoing mental health consultations, so Pedro Morgado stresses the importance of behavioural prevention measures and monitoring of addictive behaviours.
"These are always 'maladaptive' mechanisms of suffering management," he says.
The study now made known is part of a project funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology.
The data were collected in March and April 2020 and February and March 2021, and in 2020 the sample consisted of 2042 people of which 624 people also responded in 2021.