Drinkaware reveals 'worrying' levels of people drinking alcohol to cope

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

Worrying problem: Drinkaware research looks at adult drinking patterns in the UK
Worrying problem: Drinkaware research looks at adult drinking patterns in the UK

Related tags Alcoholic beverage

Publicans are being encouraged by Drinkaware to be "more aware" of their own and staff's use of alcohol when dealing with everyday stresses both at work and in their personal life, as research by the charity reveals "worrying levels of drinking alcohol to cope".

According to the charity, figures shows that almost three in five (58%) of all people aged 18-75 who drink alcohol are doing so to help them "cope with the pressures of everyday life".

The survey, which looked at adult drinking patterns in the UK, showed 38% of men and women who said they had drunk alcohol in the last year had done so at least some of the time to "forget their problems", with 47% claiming they had done so to "cheer themselves up when in a bad mood".

And, a total of 41% said that they had drunk alcohol because it helped when they felt "depressed or nervous".

Licensees are also being encouraged to be "more aware of their own use of alcohol when dealing with everyday stresses both at work and in their personal life", as well as that of their employees, said the charity.

Spotting the problem

On the issue, Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The sector has a strong track record in disseminating information regarding at-risk customers and responsible drinking, such as the THINK! Campaign.

"Licensees are also the first line in implementing licensing requirements regarding serving people who are already drunk, and play an important and effective role in doing so.

“For those working within the sector who may drink to cope, The Licensed Trade Charity exists to provide help and assistance to such individuals, particularly those living with alcohol dependency or facing financial difficulties. Any licensees in need of help should not hesitate to contact the LTC for support.”

Difficult time

Drinkaware chief executive Elaine Hindal added: "January can be a difficult time of year for many people and families up and down the country when day-to-day concerns about finances and debt come sharply into focus.

"What this thought-provoking survey shows is that a worrying number of people are drinking alcohol to help them cope with the pressures of day-to-day life.

"While people might think having a drink after a hard day can help them relax, in the long run it can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety and make stress harder to deal with. This is because regular, heavy drinking interferes with the neurotransmitters in our brains that are needed for good mental health.

"The number of people who are drinking when they are already feeling depressed or nervous, and at levels which are harmful to both their physical and mental health is also deeply concerning.

"Regular drinking lowers levels of serotonin - the brain chemical that helps to regulate moods. This is one factor leading to symptoms of depression if people drink heavily and regularly.

"In addition, alcohol and depression can feed off each other to create a vicious cycle."

The charity's Drinkaware at Work programme of training and e-learning about alcohol is a tool for operators who want to support employees who may be drinking too much.

Related topics Health & safety

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