The Way We Drink Now is a new survey exploring some of the questions that need answering. It looks at the habits and attitudes of 1,250 people throughout the UK who drink alcohol and seeks to clarify if they are aware of the dangers associated with excessive drinking or simply ignoring the risks. It also pinpoints key groups in the population who drink in certain ways and asks what could motivate them to seek support to moderate their intake.
This research highlights that, despite the fact that drinking has been linked to a number of health consequences, heavy drinking is still commonplace and is often seen as normal social behaviour.
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
Read more on all of the headline figures here