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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Peer pressure blamed for excessive drinking

The Department of Health (DH) has published the results of a survey into the drinking habits of more than 2,000 English adults.

The survey found that 22% of respondents have drunk more alcohol than they planned because of peer pressure. 39% stated that they made up an excuse or lied to avoid another drink.

However, the survey also noted that these steps may be unnecessary because the survey also found that:

  • Only 1% of respondents think less of people who refuse a drink or choose to drink less than them
  • Just 4% expect their friends to keep up with them when drinking
  • Only 2% admit to piling on the pressure for friends to drink more when they don’t want to

The DH has also issued the following advice to those wanting to drink less:

  • Take it a day at a time: try and cut back a little every day. Each day you cut back is a success
  • Make it a smaller one: you can still enjoy a drink but have less. Try bottled beer instead of a pint or a small glass of wine instead of a large
  • Have a lower strength drink: manage how much you drink by swapping a strong strength beer or wine for one with a lower ABV [Alcohol By Volume]
  • Take a break: have the odd day here and there when you don’t have a drink

Action: Clinicians may find this information useful when advising patients on strategies to reduce alcohol consumption. The results of this survey indicate that peer pressure to drink is more of an internal pressure than an external one.

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3 Comments to “Peer pressure blamed for excessive drinking”

  1. Depends on circumstances, certainly if you've ever played a drinking game you've probably been pressured into drinking. But then that's half the fun of it.

    Sitting around having a few drinks with mates however I don't think anybody I drink with would blink at somebody having a coke or something if they weren't up for more alcohol.

    Comment by Health job handyman — March 9, 2010 #

  2. @Andrew,

    I did like the **beer** pressure headline but I'm not totally sure it 'works' if it is intentional!!

    Comment by Matthew Robinson — March 2, 2010 #

  3. A possible Freudian slip as the pages on the DH website given in the first two links in this message are currently blaming **beer** pressure. 🙂

    Comment by Andrew Martin — March 2, 2010 #

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