Irish drinkers are at high health risk

Lauren Allen

Alcohol effects drinkers negatively both physically and mentally according to the new drinkaware research. Image Credit: Alison Clair

Almost half of the Irish drinking population are at risk of health issues, according to new research by Drinkaware.

The research was launched during the sixth EU awareness week alcohol-relateded harms and
showed that up to 48 per cent of Irish alcohol users are drinking at a level that is putting their health at high risk.

“B&A were privileged to conduct this national study for Drinkaware on Irish adults’ attitudes and behaviours in
relation to alcohol,” said Director of Behaviour & Attitudes John O’Mahony.

Short term effects of drinking include disturbed sleep, anxiety and stress, memory loss, blackouts and excessive mood changes as stated on the website.

While drinking over a long period of time can cause serious long term effects such as alcohol dependency, high blood pressure, liver, disease, cancers and mental health problems.

The research was conducted by evaluating the attitudes and behaviours of drinkers. The results revealed that Irish drinkers are concerned about the lasting impact of their drinking habits and patterns with 24 per cent considering it likely that they will have increased health problems in the future if they continue to drink at their current drinking level.

The research also found that 23 per cent of adults do not drink alcohol and 44 per cent drink alcohol on a weekly basis. This is estimated to be around 446,000 of the Irish population.

19 per cent of Irish drinkers consumed more than six standard drinks on a single drinking occasion each week in the last year.

Only 2 per cent of people could correctly identify the low risk alcohol guidelines provided by drinkaware. 21 per cent of drinkers think they should cut down how much alcohol they are consuming and this statistic increases to 32 per cent for  those under the age of 25.

16 per cent of people have already made small changes to their alcohol consumption. While 74 per cent of people believe that drinking to excess is “just part of Irish culture.”

The findings highlight the extent of our culture’s pre-disposition towards the over-consumption of alcohol. From the results of the study, “an encouraging finding however is the willingness of key target groups to amend their behaviour in the future,” said O’Mahony.

Lauren Allen

 Image Credit: Alison Clair