‘Are You Drinking Too Much?’ was broadcasted Thursday 29 July at 7.30 pm on ITV; following research that at the end of 2020, 8.4 million people were drinking at a high-risk level. This was almost double the number who were prior to the Covid pandemic.
The programme centred around ITV journalist and recovering alcoholic Toby Winson’s exploration of what has led to the stark rise in problem drinking.
“After such a tough year for everyone, I’m really concerned we’re headed for a crisis, with more and more people addicted to alcohol,” he worried.
According to research, alcohol-related deaths in England and Wales are at a 20-year high.
“More than 7,000 people lost their lives in 2020, and that’s only those who died of illnesses directly related to drinking, such as liver disease and alcohol poisoning,” shared Winson.
Dr Chetna Kang highlighted the risks attached to excessive alcohol consumption.
“We’re drinking poison. Alcohol is a poison. We can get liver disease, we can get alcohol-related dementia, it increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes,” she said.
Additionally, she shared that “any” mental health problem is almost always “exacerbated” by excessive alcohol intake.
For men and women, the recommended weekly limit of alcohol is 14 units.
Dr Kang shared that most individuals are often surprised to know they are drinking far beyond this recommended amount a week.
“One of the demographics in which we are seeing a real increase in alcohol consumption is among middle-aged women. You can drink a full bottle of wine with two-and-a-half large glasses. I’ve met many women who don’t even realise that they are consuming far beyond the recommended amounts of alcohol, just because they are having it with their dinner,” she shared.
When asked what advice Dr Kang would share for those struggling with alcohol addiction, she suggested people visit their GP as the first port of call.
“There are plenty of websites and online groups that you can join. There are charities that run drug and alcohol services,” she added.
“It’s never too late to stop, reduce or improve your relationship with alcohol. thankfully, the changes that take place in the body – the brain, from excessive alcohol use, can be reversed,” she finished.
Over 2.3 million Britons tuned into the special report.
You can watch the broadcast for up to 20 days on ITV’s Hub.
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Dr Chetna Kang