Is your doctor hitting the bottle – new research

A nationwide study of British employees has revealed as many as 86 percent of doctors feel pressure to get drunk, due to a “workplace drinking culture”.

Railway workers came second (82 percent), and IT workers a close third (81 percent).


Who is drinking more units than is good for their health?

Overall, almost a third of the employed Britons who took part in the study, believe they would be at a disadvantage at work if they didn’t drink alcohol, despite many wanting to cut down or stop completely.

The research revealed the extent to which employees feel they would be seen as an outcast if they didn’t drink, with almost HALF (47 percent) saying they feel real pressure to keep up with the booze culture at work.

In fact, the extent to which work based “beer pressure” is impacting our lives was revealed in the study, with 32 percent of those polled saying there is a culture of excessive drinking at their workplace.

A further 43 percent claim they actively avoid “work dos” because they know the pressure to overindulge with booze will be too much to withstand.

But one in ten Brits have stopped drinking solely to improve their work performance, and seven percent because it was having a negative impact on their ability to do their job.

The study found that a staggering 59 percent of Brits felt they had a problematic relationship with alcohol, with four in ten having felt at times that they were out of control in relation to their drinking.

Yet the pressure to drink is huge, with 43 percent of the 2,000 working Brits polled claiming they had been coerced into drinking booze on a night out by friends and colleagues, despite not wanting to indulge.

And 70 percent of people who have tried to give up booze admit they have been made to feel awkward by others if they say they are abstaining. Shockingly, the same number claim that this pressure has actually caused them to hit the bottle again.

Said Ruari Fairbairns of One Year, No Beer: “It goes without saying that the UK has a strong drinking culture and with that, peer pressure is equally strong and alive. It’s shocking that the nation’s doctors, managers and workers in big business are feeling immense pressure to drink alcohol because of the company culture. At One Year No Beer, we help companies introduce a culture change to help employees handle all occasions, whether it’s after work drinks with colleagues, or business meetings. There are always going to be obstacles when setting yourself the challenge of giving up alcohol, but it’s when you overcome these obstacles that it builds self worth, and that’s far more gratifying than having a drink.”

The average Brit thinks about giving up alcohol 25 times every year, yet only half (49 percent) have ever tried to quit.

The main reasons for going teetotal for Brits is because of worries it was affecting their health (26 percent), followed by wanting to see if they could go alcohol-free (23 percent).

One in five people tried to quit because they have had too many bad drinking experiences, and the same number because they felt they had started drinking too heavily.

And more than one in ten (13 percent) had not wanted their children to see them intoxicated.

The survey also revealed that one in ten Brits know they drink too much and yet feel completely unable to cut down. And a quarter of people (25 percent) say that they believe people in Britain drink too much.

Interestingly, the problem seems to be generational as 60 percent of 16-29-year-olds feel pressured into drinking by their work culture, compared to just 40 percent of 45-60-year-olds.


Doctors – 86 percent
Railway workers – 82 percent
IT workers – 81 percent
Musicians – 75 percent
Banker/ City workers – 69 percent
Scientist/ researchers – 65 percent
Actors – 64 percent
Pharmacists – 57 percent
Accountants – 52 percent
Designers – 51 percent

Increase in alcohol abuse among over 60s – new research


London: Alcohol misuse in people aged over 60 in the UK is on the increase, new research suggests.

A survey carried out by the charity Foundation66 found over one in eight (13%) admitted to drinking more following retirement.

Of these, one in five (19%) uses alcohol because of depression, and one in eight (13%) drinks to deal with bereavement.

The survey of 857 people aged 60 and over also found that one in eight (12%) older drinkers is most likely to drink alone at home.

A separate poll carried out for the charity revealed widespread concern over the issue, with one in 10 adults worried about the amount of alcohol consumed by a friend or family member aged 60 or over.

The dangers of alcohol are increased among older drinkers, particularly because of medication, frailty, and other health problems.

Heavy drinking is associated with a raised risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and dementia.

And drinking too much can also lead to falls – which are more likely to seriously injure an older person.

Pensioners accounted for 357,300 alcohol-related hospital admissions in England in 2007/8 – a 75% rise in five years.

Sally Scriminger, chief executive of the UK charity Foundation66, said: “The older people we see with drink problems come from all walks of life.”

Last year Foundation66 piloted a project to provide help to older drinkers in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Demand was so heavy that the scheme is now being rolled out in a neighbouring area.

High flyers turn to alcohol to cope with City stress


London: Automated call centres, mobile phones and computers crashing top the stress scale of modern life, say a new report from health charity DPP: Developing Patient Partnerships (DPP).

In response, over a third of men (34%) turn to alcohol and a quarter (25%) of the population resort to cigarettes to help them feel less stressed, says the report. It also highlights the confusion around what stress actually is. Many people (68%) think stress is simply having a ‘bad day’ and 57% see it as having too much to do. Many (64%) wrongly believe that stress itself is an illness.

The report, part of the DPP’s Dealing with Stress campaign, provides a stark insight into how stressed we all feel, how stress is misunderstood by the UK population and our failure to adopt effective coping mechanisms.

DPP Spokesperson Dr Rosemary Anderson says: “Considering that most people (79%) believe they have been stressed in the last year, it is worrying that they are seeking solace in alcohol and cigarettes when there are many positive things that people can do to help themselves cope plus feel better in the long term.

Its findings are confirmed by City health professionals who say there are growing number of highflyers, whose inability to cope, particularly with competitive stress in the workplace, is causing them to seek professional help for problem drinking.

Don Serratt, a former merchant banker in the City, founded Life Works, a mental health and addiction treatment group after his own decent into alcoholism. He has not had a drink for 20 years and now helps others do the same.

He says: “A work hard / play hard culture has always been associated with the City. Commerce is aggressive and individuals working in the field have to “let off steam”. Whilst a casual drink doesn’t pose a problem, the issues of binge drinking and turning to alcohol as the main stress release mechanism are prevalent. When this spirals out of control, addiction can result – causing financial problems, health issues and damaging relationships.

“There’s also the associated issue of professional derailment – the under-performance of senior professionals in industry as a result of mental health issues. The important thing in both circumstances is to identify a potential problem early and intervene. Clinical experience shows that the sooner appropriate treatment is put in place, the faster and more effectively an individual recovers. Friends, colleagues and families shouldn’t wait for a person they are worried about to hit rock bottom. If they have a gut feeling that something isn’t quite right, the slightest suspicion, then get it checked out.”

Georgia Foster(pictured), a clinical hypnotherapist and stress management consultant treats City patients at the Wren Clinic explores the alcohol abuse in her new book, The Drinkless Mind. In it she highlights the role of the conscious and sub-conscious mind. The rationale in the book encourages people to reprogramme the negativity of their unconscious mind. People who drink to excess are usually trying to silence their inner critic because they are unable to turn off this negative voice. She labels this the “Radio Crazy” phenomenon because you are unable to turn it off.

“I believe that the inner critic underpins all anxieties, fears and low self worth. The inner critic is suppressed in most people after a few drinks, and that is why we drink, it could however manifest itself in, aggression, and procrastination. Stress comes in many different shapes and forms. Anxiety and panic attacks are extremely common amongst highflyers. This type of client will believe that they not coping with their lives as well as they should and their demonic inner critic will blame them. Symptoms include sweating profusely in meetings, clammy hands, fear of flying and lifts, which is most of the time claustrophobia or being trapped in their lives. I see a lot of people who have professional/social anxieties about speaking in meetings, taking clients out for lunch and speaking in public.

“A common issue is insomnia which indicates that the individual is worried about the past or the future, and tries to rectify the past (which we can’t) or predict the future (which can be a negative image) by staying awake to resolve the thoughts. Originally there may have been a ‘real’ issue that was stopping them from sleeping but it then becomes a habit. Alcohol can often help people to relax enough to sleep, it does however play havoc with the natural sleep pattern. When people try and cut back on the booze they panic that they can’t relax enough to go to sleep and the pattern of emotional drinking kicks in.

“I also treat many clients who earn ridiculous amounts of money and don’t’ believe they deserve it and live a terrible panic stricken life that they are faking their success, which they are not. They are truly doing the job well but always stressed that someone else will take their job away from them. I respect that this maybe true in certain situations but once again can also be a self fulfilling prophecy. Self-help with some of these issues is very difficult for most people, and often, despite a desire to change certain behaviours, many people don’t really want to do the work to change, enough. Until that is, they literally have had enough.

“One of the reasons for all this is that we are educated in this society to avoid exposing vulnerabilities to the outside world, which means all stress and emotional issues become buried within. Ultimately this has long term health effects but along the way we are given many signs such as the above symptoms. If we don’t feel safe simply because we have been taught to ‘keep quiet’ about our problems we feel lost and alone and resort to gratification of the primitive world, such as consumption of food, alcohol, excessive sex and sleep – which is a sign of depression.”

Case study

Jenny (not her real name or job), is a senior IT consultant at a large investment bank and is her mid-thirities. She is an extremely funny person and her role as the social/funny person of the office and also meant being a big drinker. One evening after work she got so drunk – which was not uncommon – that the fell down the escalators at Bank tube station, breaking her nose, smashing her glasses and almost loosing an eye. She did not realise this damage until she woke up the next day with very little memory but in some serious pain. She was in shock for days.

Georgia Foster, All Hallows House, Idol Lane, EC3. For copies of The Drinkless Mind and CD cost £17.99 call 0845 660 4396.
Lifeworks, London, W1 and Woking Surrey. Free phone number 0800 081 0700 and
DPP: Developing Patient Partnerships Campaign.