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Stress is main excuse for adults drinking at home

Published:  01 August, 2011

Adults are using stress as an excuse to consume up to four drinks a night at home, according to research from Drinkaware.

The most popular reasons to reach for the bottle were negative: a stressful day (65%) or a bad day at work (53%) topped the list. Both sexes say stress is the main reason to have a drink at the end of the day, with more women (73%) than men (57%) listing this as their top excuse.

Almost three quarters (72%) of women say they drink a glass of wine to relax, while 60% of them report they will have two or more large glasses of wine on a typical night - more than double the recommended guidelines. Two thirds of men (64%) say they drink at least two pints of beer (four units) on an average evening at home.

Donna Dawson, a psychologist specialising in personality and behaviour, said: "At the end of the day, we may know that the second or third glass of alcohol is not really needed or even desired, but the brain has already rationalised that if one glass felt good, then more will feel even better. What we need to do is recognise this is faulty brain-reasoning at work and take more conscious control of 'why', 'when' and 'how much' we drink, as well as the health harms that alcohol can cause."

The survey also highlights the impact alcohol has on the domestic evening routine. Pouring a glass of wine is cited as the second most popular option (61%) to unwind after relaxing in front of the TV. Drinking to relax after a stressful day ranked higher than wanting to spend time with their children (28%), or talk to one another (26%).

Chris Sorek, Drinkaware's chief executive, said: "This isn't about abstinence. It's about understanding how much is too much, and how much alcohol can affect your body. At times of stress, you may think that having a drink will help you sleep but, drinking alcohol can affect your sleep patterns, meaning you wake up feeling even more stressed, irritable and tired the next day."

Drinkaware has developed MyDrinkaware ( a unit calculator and drink diary. It gives feedback on risk levels of alcohol consumption and shows data in units, calories and spend.