Alcohol is still one of the most 'swept under the carpet' addictions within the UK, with many turning a blind eye to the dangers of over drinking and the affects that it can have on a someone's life. Plus it is not just the single affect to someone's own health, but the damaging repercussions it can have on family and work life. One way to help is to raise awareness of the problems that drinking too much alcohol can have and to understand that for many the problem is only really identified once damage is done. Raising awareness offers people the chance and choice to identfy the warning signs before the problems become too significant and damaging.
Our talkhealth survey in December was aimed at both raising the problems of drinking along with asking people to recognise their own relationship with alcohol. Over 500 people completed the survey with 82% saying that they do drink alcohol. The most common age that people took their first drink was between the ages of 15-17 years old.
For most wine was identified as the most popular drink, followed by spirits and then larger. Whereas a few years ago, most people would drink outside the home, statistics now show that many drink at home, and this is demonstrated by 92% of our respondents drinking at home.
The good news is that our survey reflected that most people now certainly appear to understand the guidelines as stated by the Department of Health that are safe to drink - Women 2-3 units a day and Men 3-4 units a day. To check your units NHS Choices have a very easy to use 'Alcohol Unit Calculator' so you can find out exactly how many units you are drinking.
Drinking at home and children - we asked people would they allow someone under the age of 16 to drink in their home and 78% said they wouldn't allow the consumption of alcohol in their home by some one under this age. Legally children from the age of 5 are allowed to drink alcohol if supervised by an adult - but this isn't a widely know fact - with 62% of people believing the age is over 15. Based on the above two points - does this raise the issue that people believe that the age for children to drink alcohol in the home should change?... Something to be considered....
Drinking and pregnancy - there always seems to be the yes and no group - but clearly in moderation, and it would seem from our survey that most people (84%) feel that it is safer and advisable not to drink during this time.
We asked if you or someone you know, has ever been concerned about the amount of alcohol consumed, with 62% answering yes, but only 19% actually seeking help to address these concerns. When alcohol has such far reaching affects the amount of people seeking help in any form is low and suggests that we as a society have quite a long way to travel in order to help people ... and that starting block as mentioned earlier is for education and awareness to start solving the problems alcohol presents to both individuals and society. However we asked if you were told by a medical professional that alcohol was affecting your physical and mental health what would you do about it - 48% of you said you would stop and 37% said you would reduce your level of intake. Concluding, the more we can understand properly what too much consumption of alcohol can do to us... the more likely we are to react positively. Health education is a great tool but needs to offer a consistant message and one that people can relate to, and understand the meaning to them - and not 'thats a problem other people have'.
If you would like to speak to our experts about any concerns or problems you have either directly or indireclty around alcohol, we are running a online clinic between on Drink Awareness between 8-15 December 2014. After the clinic is closed, it is still available for everyone to read the Q&A session.
If you're interested in a detailed analysis of the results for these surveys please contact us.