One in 10 adult drinkers in Scotland consumed more alcohol than normal during lockdown, according to new figures.
Drinkaware’s Monitor 2020 found the equivalent of 370,000 drank more than their usual amount in the overall lockdown period from March to August, even as restrictions eased.
The figures also suggest more than a quarter (29%) drank more alcohol during early lockdown – the time between March and June when the coronavirus pandemic was in its first wave.Half of those (50%) surveyed by YouGov said the increased consumption was due to having more time available or not being occupied with other activities, while half also said it was because they had less structure to their day or week.
More than a third said they were drinking more to help with stress or anxiety (37%) or to relieve boredom or for something to do (38%) amid Covid-19 restrictions.
Those categorised as “higher risk drinkers” – representing nearly 700,000 Scottish adults, according to the charity – were most likely to have drunk more than normal (22%) throughout lockdown.
Higher risk drinkers were also more likely to be drinking on more days a week than usual (43% compared with 20% of all Scottish drinkers) and to drink earlier in the day than usual (21% compared with 10%).
Elaine Hindal, Drinkaware chief executive, said: “Our monitor shows that when people are feeling fragile – whether they’re uncertain about their futures or struggling with working at home – they could be reaching for a drink.
“And while some people adapt, many might not be getting to grips with the so-called ‘new normal’, continuing to drink more than they usually would.
“Drinking can cause mental health conditions or make them worse, negatively affect your sleep, lead to weight gain, and has the potential to impair your immune function.
“It can also have many other serious long-term mental and physical health consequences.
“As a nation we must wake up to the health impact of drinking so much alcohol. The evidence clearly links drinking more to job insecurity and negative mental health.
“If general uncertainty lies ahead, it is crucial that we do not sleepwalk into the winter months and ignore these lockdown lessons. Otherwise, the UK could face a wave of alcohol-related health issues.”
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