UK and COVID-19: Half of Alcohol Users Begin Consumption Earlier
Half of British alcohol users are starting their alcohol consumption earlier in the day during the COVID-19 crisis. The Global Drug Survey finds big rises in binge alcohol use and poor health during lockdown.
Alcohol users in the UK have been resorting to alcohol consumption earlier in the day than people from most other countries during the coronavirus pandemic, a findings from the latest Global Drug Survey show.
Nearly 47% of Britons who consume alcohol reported doing so earlier in the day than before the pandemic, compared with 23.3% in Greece at the other end of the spectrum, according to results of the interim report for the Global Drug Survey (GDS), as per The Guardian.
More than 50% of British alcohol users who responded reported an increase in the number of days consuming alcohol each week during the COVID-19 crisis, with 33% reporting an increase in binge alcohol consumption.
The main reasons given for increased alcohol use were boredom and having more time to consume alcohol.
More alcohol, less well-being; less alcohol, better well-being
Poorer physical health was cited by more than 40% as a consequence of increased alcohol use, with decreased mental health, work performance and pleasure from alcohol use also commonly reported.
The survey included a number of opt-in questions about tensions in relationships before and after COVID-19, and about behaviors ranging from physical abuse to being stopped from seeing or talking to family or friends, having access to money or checking contacts on social media. The interim report of the GDS details an increase in people reporting some or a lot of tension in their intimate relationships, from 42% to 49%, during the period, although most – 74% – reported no change in the tension in their relationship.
While more alcohol leads to lower levels of self-reported well-being, similarly, of those respondents who say they have consumed less alcohol during the public health crisis, more than 60% reported improvements in physical health and more than 40% improvement in finances.
To The Guardian, Prof Adam Winstock, a consultant psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist and founder and director of the survey, said:
The survey shows that what you do matters. In a short period, people are feeling worse off mentally and physically through [alcohol consumption].
And we see the real significant benefits of [consuming alcohol] less.”
The GDS special edition on Covid-19 was developed as part of a global effort to understand the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives, with a specific focus on the use of alcohol and other drugs, mental health and relationships.