Worrying drinking habits adopted in the Yorkshire and Humber area during the coronavirus lockdown could impact on long-term health, a charity has warned.
A study by Drinkaware has revealed that more than one in five people in the region are drinking more alcohol since the start of lockdown and are displaying worrying drinking habits that could become ingrained.
The independent alcohol education charity has said that at a time when adopting a healthy lifestyle is critical, people need to look out for drinking triggers to help them cut back and is asking the Government to raise alcohol consumption higher up its harm agenda.
Drinkaware chief executive Elaine Hindal said: “Our research clearly shows certain groups of people are displaying worrying new drinking patterns during this very challenging time.
“We’re concerned that, for a significant number of people, lockdown levels of drinking may become ingrained and hard to break.
“Drinking more can lead to an increased tolerance for alcohol, and this can lead to alcohol dependence.”
In Yorkshire and the Humber, 22 per cent of adults were now drinking more than before the outbreak of Covid-19, according to the research by Opinium on behalf of Drinkaware, part of a series of studies into drinking behaviours.
It highlighted levels of drinking on more days than usual (16 per cent), finding it difficult to stop at one drink (9 per cent), having the first alcoholic drink earlier in the day (5 per cent) and feeling the need to drink to cope with the day (5 per cent).
Ms Hindal said: “It is crucial that alcohol is considered as a factor when the Government is looking at tackling obesity.
“Alcohol consumption should also be looked at as a factor within mental health strategies, including for those furloughed and younger people who may feel uncertain about the future, and for parents who are juggling work and family life.
“The important thing to remember is that, if you or someone you care about is drinking more than usual at the moment, it’s not too late to cut down or find support to help you.
“Understanding what triggers you to drink more can help you avoid reaching for alcohol.
“Sticking to the low-risk drinking guidelines of no more than 14 units a week – that’s about six glasses of wine or six pints of beer – is a good place to start to help you keep track.”
Drinkaware has an online self-assessment that can help identify whether someone should be concerned about how much they drink.