The Daily Telegraph

Heavy drinking almost doubles in lockdown, report finds

- By Sarah Knapton SCIENCE EDITOR

THE number of high-risk drinkers nearly doubled in lockdown and was worst in groups of higher social class, a government report shows.

Survey data show the proportion of people classified as drinking more than recommende­d levels increased from 10.8 per cent in February to 19.4 per cent in April. The number decreased to 17.6 per cent in May, but then rose again to 19 per cent in June.

The report showed that high-risk drinking was higher in men, with more than a quarter reporting problemati­c drinking (25.9 per cent) compared with just 12.7 per cent of women.

Alcohol misuse was more prevalent in higher social class groups compared with lower social class groups, at 21 per cent and 17.1 per cent respective­ly.

Results from a survey by Oxford University published this week showed that drinking too much alcohol, poor diet and less physical activity adversely affected mental health during lockdown in England.

Stanley Ulijaszek, professor of human ecology, said: “Lockdown has resulted in increased levels of anxiety, poor sleep, persistent sadness, binge eating, suicidal thoughts, alcohol consumptio­n and reduced levels of physical activity. These changes have potential long-term consequenc­es.’

The “Wider Impacts of Covid-19 on Health” report also showed many people had not sought medical advice, despite a worsening health condition.

In the week up to July 13, 13.1 per cent of respondent­s reported having a worsening health condition, 51.6 per cent of whom said that they had not sought advice. The group who were most likely to not seek advice were those aged 55 to 64.

Of those reporting a worsening health condition, the reasons most commonly stated for not seeking advice was to avoid pressure on the NHS (58.3 per cent), concern about catching Covid-19 (35.1 per cent) and concern about leaving the house (30.2 per cent).

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