Three in five drinking ‘to cope’

Almost 60 per cent of adults who drink are ‘doing so because it helps them to cope with the pressures of day-to-day life’, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by industry-funded charity Drinkaware. ‘Motivations for drinking are an important aspect of drinking behaviour and over half of all drinkers (58 per cent) report that they drink for at least one coping reason,’ says the report.

Elaine Hindal: ‘People are drinking to cope with pressures of life.’

Almost 40 per cent of the 6,174 18-75 year-olds surveyed said they drank ‘to forget their problems at least some of the time’, while 47 per cent said they had done so to cheer themselves up. Of the 41 per cent who had drunk because they were ‘depressed or nervous’, meanwhile, 54 per cent were doing so ‘at increasing levels of risk’.

While 33 per cent of drinkers in social grades A and B drank to forget about their problems, among drinkers in social grades D and E this rose by 11 percentage points to 44 per cent. There was a similar 9 per cent difference among rates of drinking when feeling depressed or nervous.

‘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,’ said Drinkaware chief executive Elaine Hindal. ‘Whilst 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 heavy drinking could also lower serotonin levels, she added, which could lead to depressive symptoms. ‘Alcohol and depression can feed off each other to create a vicious cycle,’ she stated.

Adults (18-75) in the UK who drink alcohol for coping reasons at

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