UK Drinkers Trying to Cut Down Through Willpower Alone

Posted on: 25th April 2016

A new report, published today by alcohol education charity Drinkaware, reveals how up to 4.7 million people who are trying or planning to cut down on their drinking could be doing so without any help.

The research into UK adults’ current habits, behaviours and changing attitudes towards alcohol consumption, shows how one in five of UK drinkers are currently cutting down (9%), or thinking about it (11%), yet the majority of these people appear to be doing so without getting any support or guidance.

Among those trying to reduce their drinking right now, 56% are not looking for help and appear to rely solely on willpower to achieve their goal. By contrast,  only one in seven (14%) are talking to their GPs or nurse about it; one in ten (10%) are seeking help and support from those close to them and just five per cent have joined a support group. In addition, very few people who are trying to cut down actually keep a record of how much they drink. Eight per cent use a traditional pen and paper diary and only 4 per cent use an app.

Challenges for cutting down

In the UK, being sociable and drinking alcohol appears to go hand in hand; with a quarter of those who are trying to cut down (27%) saying that there are ‘too many upcoming social occasions’.

In addition, just under a quarter (24%) of this group find that stress is a barrier to cutting back. The insight reveals that changes in personal circumstances such as friendships (21%), work (18%) and partners (16%) are the most common factors that influence people to drink more.

However the good news is that attempts at cutting down have a lasting positive effect for many people. 45% of people who have tried to cut down on their drinking in the past say that in their most recent attempt, they succeeded in reducing the amount they drink on a permanent basis.