Australians were already drinking more alcohol at home than in bars or nightclubs before the coronavirus pandemic hit, research reveals.
The study, based on more than 2000 Kiwis and 1700 Australians, suggests that people drank the most alcohol during a “heavy drinking session at home”.
It follows several studies that show an increasing number of Australians are turning to the liquor cabinet more often to cope with the stress of the pandemic.
Of the four countries studied – New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam and Thailand – people in Vietnam were found to be drinking the most at their home or friends’ homes (81 per cent) before COVID-19 took hold.
Australia was ranked second with 76 per cent, followed by New Zealand with 73 per cent and Thailand at 67 per cent.
For people in Australia, bars and nightclubs were the next most preferred location for drinking alcohol, with 12 per cent of their total amount consumed there.
In Vietnam and Thailand, however, restaurants, wedding parties, grocery stores and festivals were more popular drinking locations.
According to the study, conducted by New Zealand’s Massey University and Melbourne’s La Trobe University, a ‘harmful drinking occasion’ equated to eight or more standard drinks for men, and six or more for women.
I’m drinking too much at home. How do I cut back?
This year has been an extremely stressful time for everyone, so it’s no surprise more Australians are drinking at home.
But ultimately, drinking too much alcohol is going to cause us more harm than good.
Today we launch a new campaign to raise awareness of how little habits can turn into big problems. Our aim is to help Australians recognise their new, unwanted habits and seek help to reduce their risky drinking. Help us spread the message: https://t.co/brmBPAK2gQ #breakthehabit pic.twitter.com/TJq78Piu3o
— ADF (@AlcoholDrugFdn) August 9, 2020
According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, alcohol causes more chronic diseases and is linked to more deaths than many illicit drugs.
So how do we slow down and take back control?
- Drink water or other non-alcoholic beverages between alcoholic drinks
- Avoid drinking in rounds with friends, as you may end up drinking more than planned
- Don’t allow others to top up your glass if you’re sharing a bottle of wine as you may lose track of how many drinks you’ve consumed
- Avoid high-alcohol content beverages, like stronger beers or wines, and spirits
- Eat some food before and while drinking, to slow your drinking pace and slow the absorption of alcohol
- Keep yourself busy while drinking to reduce the amount you’re consuming: Play pool, sing karaoke, dance, talk to friends.