Three in five adults hit the bottle to cope with the stress of everyday life, research suggests.Alcohol advice charity Drinkaware today warns a ‘worrying' number of people drink at the end of the day to ease their problems.
Their poll found that 58 per cent of us admit drinking to deal with the pressures of daily life. Some 47 per cent said they did so to cheer themselves up and 38 per cent to forget their problems, according to the YouGov survey of 6,000.
The figures will raise fears that people may not be fully informed about the risks of heavy drinking, such as links to cancer, heart disease and mental health issues.
Regular drinking lowers levels of serotonin – the brain chemical that helps to regulate moods. Experts last night said drinking was likely to be a particular problem at this time of year, with many families struggling with post-Christmas debt.
Elaine Hindal, chief executive of Drinkaware, which is funded by the alcohol industry, said: ‘January can be a difficult time of year for many people when day-to-day concerns about finances and debt come sharply into focus. 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.
While teenagers used to be considered Britain's biggest drinkers, now experts are more worried about the middle-aged and middle-class, who buy wine in supermarkets and drink at home.
Some 45 per cent of English hospital admissions caused by drinking were for those aged 55 to 74 in 2015/16, official statistics show. Under-35s made up only 9 per cent of alcohol-linked admissions last year.
Katherine Brown, head of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said: ‘The public need to be better informed about the health risks associated with alcohol use.
‘Health information on labels and mass media campaigns from government would help to equip drinkers with all the facts.'