This was new research conducted by Alcohol Concern and Drink Wise into the attitudes and drinking behaviour of the General Public in the UK and called ‘The Way We Drink Now’
How much we spend in one minute on alcohol in the UK in 2015 ………
In their report they use some interesting headings including: the Bridget Jones generation hits middle age which felt particularly resonant to me.
As well as providing evidence to back up previous findings into the UK’s drinking habits, the new survey delivered some unexpected results:
- Women are rapidly gaining equality with men when it comes to hard drinking – 41% of drinkers in the possible alcohol dependent category were female
- Contrary to the stereotype of the hard drinking working class male, this study found that people with possible alcohol dependence are actually more likely to be of a higher social class (ABC1) and well educated (degree-level or equivalent)
- The study found that adults who lived with children in the household were statistically more likely to be heavy drinkers, raising questions about the normalisation of excessive drinking for children at an early age
- Results suggest that many potential alcohol dependent drinkers (AUDIT 20+) exist in a state of denial – with over half (54%) believing that they were ‘fairly normal’ when it came to their drinking habits
- Alcohol misuse is contributing to the growing strain on healthcare resources in the UK – in the survey, people with possible dependence were three times more likely to have been admitted to hospital or use A&E than those with a lower drinking risk level
- It’s not the case that heavy drinkers don’t care about their fitness. In this study, 65% of those most at risk said that they exercise at least twice a week
- Many at-risk drinkers revealed that they regularly visited their GP. Two thirds of those showing risk of alcohol dependence had at least one comorbidity (another simultaneous medical condition), such as depression or anxiety, both of which are strongly linked to excessive alcohol intake
The rest of the report gives a more detailed discussion for each point and recommendations. The one that I was really drawn to was 3 and the normalisation of drinking around children. This was one of my primary motivators for stopping having grown up in a household of daily drinkers and having two young children myself.
This is what they recommend:
Bring the focus back on to the children.
“The conversation should be about children and safe guarding young people,” says Alison Wheeler.
Research does show that parents who are given support and advice about how their drinking affects their children make significant changes to their drinking habits, drinking less often and out of sight of youngsters when possible.
Take alcohol out of schools.
After pubs and restaurants, schools are the third biggest group of premises licenced
for serving alcohol. In 2013, primary schools in England and Wales applied for permission to serve alcohol to parents at fetes, discos and sports days on more than 8,000 occasions,
according to the drug and drink charity, Swanswell.
“This gives the wrong message and suggests that a school condones drinking,” says Mark Holmes.
I particularly liked the conclusion which reads:
The consequences of excessive alcohol consumption are becoming increasingly
documented, however the realisation is still slow to dawn on the population as a whole. Like smoking, it may take time to turn the tide of social acceptance. If alcohol is this generation’s smoking battle, it will be hard fought, as Steve Brinksman points out “our relationship with alcohol is thousands of years old, whereas our relationship with smoking is only hundreds.”
The first step in this challenge is to ensure that people who are ready to take action to cut down or quit drinking can be identified and quickly access support when they are motivated to change.
With that in mind my next How To Quit Workshop is running in London in 2 weeks time. If you are reading this and ready to take action and motivated to change then why don’t you join us? You can register to attend here
Once more I agree with everything they say particularly the denial that surrounds drinking and the impact it has both health wise and socially. What do you think?
PS From today I’ll be dropping my post frequency to every other day. It’s been 2 years since I started posting on a daily basis and as discussed in this blog’s comments
it’s time to scale things back 🙂 I will post on a daily basis during Alcohol Awareness Week later this month and am planning an Xmas sober advent calendar during December so am weaning myself back gently 😉