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Survey: 78% of Brits give into drinking pressures

Almost four in five drinkers in the UK consume more alcohol than they intend to due to social pressures, according to new research commissioned by Alcohol Change UK.

Four in five UK drinkers said they consume more alcohol than they want to

According to a survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of Alcohol Change UK, the charity behind Dry January, 78% of Brits said they drink more than they want to or intend to.

Alcohol Change UK said the reasons for drinking more varied between age groups, with 36% of people polled aged 18-24 saying that drinking alcohol makes them more outgoing. Meanwhile, 20% of people of all ages said they find themselves drinking more than they want to as a result of drinking in rounds.

The survey found that 23% of British adults feel pressured to drink more alcohol than they want to by people they know.

While fewer older people experience this ‘peer pressure’, the survey also found that more than one in 10 of those aged 55 and over experience pressure to drink.

Dr Richard Piper, CEO of Alcohol Change UK, said: “There’s a perception that we leave peer pressure behind at school, but when it comes to alcohol this clearly isn’t the case.

“Many of us will have had the experience of being encouraged to drink more than we really want to – and pushing others to do the same, particularly at times like Christmas. Even when it’s not as explicit as pushing, little things like drinking in rounds can pile on the pressure to drink more.”

The survey also found that 10% of drinkers in the UK are planning to take part in Dry January, which encourages people to give up alcohol for the first month of the year.

Piper added: “This research shows that lots of us are drinking in ways that we don’t feel comfortable with, but it can be tricky to know how to make a change. Signing up for Dry January is a brilliant place to start.

“Being alcohol-free for 31 days shows us we don’t need alcohol to have fun, to relax, to socialise and Dry January offers a ready-made response to anyone who tries to pressure us to drink. Strong evidence tells us that signing up for Dry January helps people – even heavy drinkers – to drink more healthily all year round.”

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