Am I more likely to drink unhealthily if I drink at home?

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19 December
09:58
December
2016

There’s no evidence for that. However, you’re the person that has to put up and manage your own boundaries. In a pub if you start to get intoxicated it can be a problem for the licensee, so they have to do something about it. If you start getting out of order in a pub, there will be sanctions. At home it’s entirely down to you. 

People at home tend to regard it as a safe space. So the research suggests – and I do say suggests advisedly – that people are underestimating the risks involved. Most notably the amount they consume. 

"Invariably you drink more than if you were in a pub or restaurant. Research does tell us is that people tend to be aware of short-term risks such as falling over, getting intoxicated, being sick..."

This could be a problem because if you’re drinking wines and spirits it’s almost impossible to pour pub measures. Invariably you drink more than if you were in a pub or restaurant. Research does tell us is that people tend to be aware of short-term risks such as falling over, getting intoxicated, being sick... but they’re not so concerned about, or they don’t have a real concept of, long-term health risks. It’s something that we almost completely discount. Although I think we tend to do that with our drinking anyway, to be honest. 

I would say the jury’s out whether drinking at home is unhealthier than the pub. At the moment there is no evidence to suggest we are drinking more unhealthily, but there is increasing evidence that home drinking appeals to women more than it does to men. There has been a recent paper that has shown that the drinking habits – risk levels especially – of men and women over the last 60 years have almost converged

"So 60 years ago there was no question that men would drink in a much more risky way than women, both in terms of their physical and psychological health. Now we’ve arrived at a stage where we’re almost at the same level."

So 60 years ago there was no question that men would drink in a much more risky way than women, both in terms of their physical and psychological health. Now we’ve arrived at a stage where we’re almost at the same level. So there’s no doubt that women are doing themselves more harm regarding alcohol. 

I wouldn’t say that that is specifically to do with drinking at home, but home drinking does appeal more to women than it does to men. This is for two main reasons: one, they tend to drink more expensive drinks – wines, spirits and RTDs (Ready to Drink) such as Bacardi Breezers. In a pub or a bar it’s much more expensive to be drinking those than it is at home. Also one of the drivers for home drinking appears to be about drinking in a safe social space. Whereas 15-20 years ago people would pop around for a cup of coffee, increasingly that has now become a bottle of wine. Again, that tends to be more popular for women than men. 

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