Alone Together podcast: Our relationship with alcohol during the pandemic

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic has seen the UK's drinking levels soar.

Are our drinking habits getting out of hand? (Photo: JPIMedia / Shutterstock)

Research by the Royal College of Psychiatrists found that more than 8 million people were drinking at high risk in June compared to just under 5 million three months earlier, the highest level since 2015.

On this episode of Alone Together, the podcast tackles the subject of our relationship with alcohol and how this has changed during the pandemic.

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Dan McLaughlin speaks to DrinkAware’s communications director Jennifer Walters about their research, support and advice for those struggling with alcohol in these unprecedented times.

DrinkAware’s research shows that there are particular groups of people that have been drinking more: single parents, those who are furloughed and young adults aged 18-34.

Jennifer said: “If you or someone you care about is drinking more than you at the moment it’s absolutely not too late to cut down or find support to help you. Understanding what triggers you to drink can really help you to avoid reaching for alcohol."

Jennifer provides some advice including have three alcohol-free days per week and to use a smaller glass for smaller measures when drinking alcohol.

Matt Millard speaks to company director and former journalist, Richard Beech, about his turbulent relationship with alcohol and how this led him to go sober from January.

Starting out as a journalist in a busy newsroom, he started to drink after work and eventually it became a barrier to a healthy lifestyle. The catalyst to stop drinking occurred when he started his own business and found that drinking affected his productivity.

Richard says: “If it’s me and alcohol in the relationship then alcohol has the power and I have no power in that relationship and I’m completely unable to control it.”

He discusses the ill-informed stereotypes of alcoholics including "sitting on the street down on their luck" and offers advice to those who may be struggling.

“Anybody who isn’t fully in control of their relationship with alcohol suggests a level of addiction. Many people are on the cusp of that,” he says

If you or anyone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction contact DrinkAware’s helpline at 0300 123 1110 or use the online chat service. Other tools such as DrinkAware’s online self assessment tool to identify if your levels are a concern.

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