UK drinkers trying to cut down through willpower alone
Up to 4.7 million** people who are trying or planning to cut down on their drinking could be doing so without any help.
25 April 2016
The research into UK adults’ current habits, behaviours and changing attitudes towards alcohol consumption, shows how one in five of UK drinkers are currently cutting down (9%), or thinking about it (11%)***, yet the majority of these people appear to be doing so without getting any support or guidance.
Among those trying to reduce their drinking right now, 56% are not looking for help and appear to rely solely on willpower to achieve their goal****.
By contrast, only one in seven (14%) are talking to their GPs or nurse about it; one in ten (10%) are seeking help and support from those close to them and just five per cent have joined a support group.
In addition, very few people who are trying to cut down actually keep a record of how much they drink. Eight per cent use a traditional pen and paper diary and only 4 per cent use an app.
Drinkaware CEO Elaine Hindal explains: “It’s positive to see how many people are making the effort to cut down or planning to do so in the future. But, too many are doing so alone without using the support available to them.
“Reducing your alcohol consumption by just a few drinks each week can make a big difference to your health. The benefits of cutting down include having more energy, sleeping better as well as looking and feeling healthier. There are a number of ways to cut down on your alcohol intake, such as avoiding situations where the temptation is high or finding a new hobby or activity. Our website is full of information to get you started and includes a mobile app that will help you track your drinking.”
Over a third (35%) of UK adults say they have made an effort to cut down on their drinking or are planning to do so, and for those currently drinking above government guidelines in a typical week, this figure rises to 61%.
Over half (57%) of people believe that it is no longer as acceptable to get drunk now as it was in the past, and more than eight in ten (82%) state that they don’t need to get drunk to have a good night out.
In the UK, being sociable and drinking alcohol appears to go hand in hand; with a quarter of those who are trying to cut down (27%) saying that there are ‘too many upcoming social occasions’.
In addition, just under a quarter (24%) of this group find that stress is a barrier to cutting back. The insight reveals that changes in personal circumstances such as friendships (21%), work (18%) and partners (16%) are the most common factors that influence people to drink more.
However, the good news is that attempts at cutting down have a lasting positive effect for many people. 45% of people who have tried to cut down on their drinking in the past***** say that in their most recent attempt, they succeeded in reducing the amount they drink on a permanent basis.
As part of the Drinkaware research, individuals with experience of trying to cut down were asked to provide their advice for people trying to cut back on alcohol consumption. The most popular tips were:
If you do want to drink less and need support, whether you’re at home or out and about, use Drinkaware’s free mobile app, to track the units and calories in your drinks and cut back.
Ipsos MORI conducted a quota survey with 2,303 UK adults aged 18-75 using an online panel. Quotas were set based on the known population profile of adults aged 18-75, and the final data were weighted to reflect this profile.
Of those surveyed, 1,136 are male and 1,167 are female. 688 individuals drink above government guidelines in a typical week. 2,080 individuals ever drink. 194 individuals are presently trying to cut down their drinking.