Belfast Telegraph

One in 10 'has alcohol problem'

Nearly one in 10 people surveyed about drinking in Northern Ireland was found to have a problem with alcohol.

The research compiled on behalf of the Department of Health was based on interviews with more than 2,000 people and revealed trends in alcohol use.

But a specific test used to identify problem drinkers indicated that 9% of people fell into that category.

The report said that agreeing to two or more of these clinical interview questions suggested that it was highly likely that a problem with alcohol existed.

The four statements were: I have felt that I ought to cut down on my drinking; People have annoyed me by criticising my drinking; I have felt ashamed or guilty about my drinking; and I have had a drink first thing in the morning to steady my nerves or get rid of a hangover.

The research found 61% of people considered themselves to be light drinkers, 36% consider themselves to be moderate drinkers. And while the test found 9% had a problem with alcohol, only 3% of people said they considered themselves to be heavy drinkers.

The wide-ranging survey examined the amount people drank, when, where and what they drank and who they drank with. It also examined how drinking behaviours varied across different sections of society, plus the proportion of people who binged, experienced problem drinking, and perceptions of drinking.

More than seven out of 10 (74%) of adults drink alcohol and the survey found larger proportion of males (78%) than females (72%) drink.

Younger adults (18-29 years) were found to be more likely to drink than older adults (60-75 years). Around half (52%) of drinkers reported drinking alcohol at least once a week, or more frequently. Some 6% reported drinking on an almost daily basis.

A greater proportion of male respondents (8%) compared to females (5%) reported drinking alcohol daily or on most days. The most common drinks consumed were wine (48%) and beer (47%).

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