Two thirds 'turn to drink' to relax in the evening

  • 6 July 2012
  • From the section Health
Image caption Many seek to unwind after work with a drink

Almost two-thirds of people rely on alcohol to relax in the evenings, the charity Drinkaware has warned.

A poll of 2,000 adults aged 30-45 carried out by ICM found 44% drank all or most - and a third think about having a swift drink before they even get home.

Stress - and bad days at work - were the most common reasons for drinking.

Experts from Drinkaware warned that alcohol might appear to aid stress - but often made things worse.

A third of men surveyed who drank at home, and nearly half of women, said they drank above the daily limit - three to four units of alcohol for men and two to three for women.

Most - 68% - made sure they had alcohol at home, and 71% said they bought alcohol as part of the weekly grocery shop.

A third sit down in front of the TV after dinner for their first drink, while a quarter had alcohol with their evening meal.

Problems 'creep up'

Siobhan McCann, head of campaigns and communications at Drinkaware, says: "Alcohol can be a 'false friend' when you are trying to deal with stress.

"Even though it might seem like a few drinks can relieve the pressures of the day, in the medium to long term it can actually add to them - whether they're work, financial or family-related.

"Stress can also be an excuse for people to drink more than they should, especially if they don't realise the negative impact it can have on their health and well-being."

Emily Robinson, director of campaigns for the charity Alcohol Concern, said: "Many people use alcohol to relax but this can lead to more problems.

Media captionWhat is a unit of alcohol?

"Although alcohol may make you feel sleepy and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, the quality of sleep is often poor.

"Alcohol is also a depressant so feelings of anxiety may get worse by drinking and causing someone to feel more stressed."

She added: "What's worrying is that drinking at home regularly can be habit-forming and lead to a range of health problems that can creep up on people as well as potentially develop an addiction.

"One of the findings of the research is that people are drinking following a day's work, so more needs to be done by employers to try to relieve stress at work.

"Employers should play their part and not actively promote an after-work drinking culture which leads into drinking more alcohol at home."

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