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At the end of a tough day, paying a quick visit to the pub or the drinks cabinet at home can be an easy way to unwind. But it's now become clear just how normal a choice that is for many Britons.
A new survey has uncovered an eye-opening truth about Brits' drinking habits - namely that most people drink just to escape the pressures of everyday life. In a poll of 18-75-year-olds who have drunk alcohol in the last year, 58 percent admitted to 'drinking to escape', while 47 percent said they did so to cheer themselves up.
41 percent of those surveyed said drinking gave them relief when they felt depressed or anxious, while 38 percent of drinkers said forgetting their worries was one of the reasons they sometimes turned to booze.
While you might think drowning your sorrows in a few drinks is pretty harmless, the charity responsible for the survey, Drinkaware, said drinking in this way could cause more problems further down the line.
Drinkaware chief executive Elaine Hindal said: 'Whilst people might think having a drink after a hard day can help them relax, in the long run it can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety and make stress harder to deal with.'
The charity's research found that drinking due to stress was more common among lower social grades - that is, manual labourers and the unemployed rather than people in white-collar office jobs.
The survey's results discovered that people lower down the social ladder drink when they are depressed or nervous at a far higher rate than those with higher incomes - perhaps because booze is the cheapest solution.
Drinkaware's CEO said the trend was 'deeply concerning' and even counter-productive, as binging on booze lowers your serotonin levels, leaving you less able to stabilise your moods.
"Alcohol and depression can feed off each other to create a vicious cycle," Hindal added. "Twenty-first century living can be hard but using alcohol to help cope with its pressures - particularly for people who are already struggling, for whatever reason, to keep their heads above water - is not the solution.
So if you're feeling under the weather, it might be worth skipping that drink at the end of the day.
'U OK M8?' is an initiative from LADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which features a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.
Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Reach out. It's the brave thing to do.
MIND: 0300 123 3393.
Samaritans: 116 123.
CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.
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