Almost four in five (78%) Brits drink more than they want or intend to, according to a new YouGov poll commissioned by Alcohol Change UK, the charity behind Dry January.

Accordingly, the campaign group are encouraging more people than ever to reset their relationship with alcohol.

Drinking More than Intended

Recent research conducted by Alcohol Change UK shows that people of all ages sometime drink more than they intend. The reason for drinking more varies between age groups. Younger people are most likely to drink more because it helps to make them feel more outgoing (36% of people aged 18-24), while people of all ages sometimes find themselves drinking more as a result of drinking in rounds (20% of people).

Over one in five (23%) British adults feel pressured to drink more alcohol by people they know: mostly by friends (15%) and colleagues (6%). Whilst fewer older people experience this ‘peer pressure’, it never disappears completely – with over one in ten (12%) of those aged 55 and over saying they experience pressure to drink from friends, colleagues and family.

Dry January: Reset the Relationship with Alcohol

One in ten drinkers in the UK (10%) have chosen to embark on Dry January in 2020, seeking to throw off the pressure and reset their relationship with alcohol. By embarking on Dry January, people pledge to give booze the elbow for a whole month.

Dr Richard Piper, CEO of Alcohol Change UK, says: “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.”

He adds: “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. Being alcohol-free for a month 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.”

“Many of us know about the health risks of alcohol – seven forms of cancer, liver disease, mental health problems – but we are often unaware that drinking less has more immediate benefits too. Sleeping better, feeling more energetic, saving money, better skin, losing weight… The list goes on. Dry January helps millions to experience those benefits and to make a longer-lasting change.”

Van Hage

If you’re looking for alternative ways to quench your thirst this Dry January, head to the Van Hage food hall in PE1 to browse and buy their range of refreshing cordials, indulgent coffees and tasty teas.

More information about Dry January.

Please be aware that if you drink very heavily or regularly, Dry January may not be suitable for you. Check with your GP or local alcohol service before you start. Where an individual is experiencing physical symptoms when they stop drinking (which may include but are not limited to: shakes, sweating, restlessness, insomnia, nausea, stomach cramps or hallucinations) they should seek medical help urgently.

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