Drinkaware Charity’s annual report reveals an alarming increase in drinking. The study found ‘higher risk drinkers’ circa 8 million adults, have drunk more than normal (24%) throughout the lockdown period. Drinking on more days a week than usual (37%) and to drink earlier in the day than usual (22%).
- Job insecurity, especially those made redundant or are in consultancy jobs, both more likely to have drunk more than normal throughout lockdown (15-17%)
- Negative mental health, to help with stress or anxiety (37%)
- Struggling working at home, having less structure to their day or week (50%)
- Drinking more to relieve boredom, something to do (36%).
- Having more time available or not being occupied with other activities (52%)
The charity is calling on the government and employers to urgently consider the pandemic’s effect on drinking behaviours, including the consideration of alcohol consumption considered a factor within mental health strategies, wellbeing programmes and policies.
Drinking can cause mental health conditions, affect sleep, lead to weight gain, and has the potential to impair immune functions and other serious long-term mental and physical health consequences.
Those who feel the pandemic has had a large or moderate negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing are more likely than those who have experienced a small or no impact to drink more than normal throughout lockdown (14% compared with 8%).
Eating and Smoking Habits
Those who have eaten less healthily are more likely to have drunk more than normal throughout lockdown (16%) and almost one in six (16%) of those who had gained weight drank more than normal throughout lockdown.
Among those drinkers who smoke, more than one in five (21%) of those who smoked more compared to normally also drank more alcohol throughout lockdown.
Low risk drinking guidelines of no more than 14 units a week to keep their risk of alcohol harm low.
Why Not Self-Assess Your Drinking Habits Now?
Drinkaware has an online self-assessment that can help identify whether someone should be concerned about how much they drink. https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/tools/self-assessment