While it may seem like everyone is drinking more alcohol at the moment, that may not be the case.

A survey by Alcohol Change UK found that only around a fifth of people in the UK say they are consuming more during the Covid-19 lockdown.

However, there are clearly people taking a different approach - with a third of people saying they are actually drinking less - and a proportion of those aren't drinking at all.


of people say they are consuming more alcohol during lockdown (Source: Alcohol Change UK)


of people say they are drinking less than they were before lockdown (Source: Alcohol Change UK)

For my latest podcast I spoke to Dr Richard Piper from the charity about people's drinking habits.

He told me: "We're seeing so much of people taking about drinking more - whether memes or social media - and what that does is give a perception bias whereby it looks like people are drinking more, because they are talking about It.

"People who drink less tend not to make funny memes about that.”

A third of people surveyed by Alcohol Change UK say they are drinking less than they were before lockdown. Credit: PA Images

But for anyone who is seeing the recycling packed with wine bottles and beer cans, should they be concerned about drinking too much?

"The government's guidance is, if you are drinking over 14 units of alcohol a week, that's 5-6 glasses of wine to 5-6 pints or cans of beer a week, if you're drinking more than that, your risk is going up," Richard adds.

Richard says there are 60 health conditions directly associated with alcohol - including seven types of cancer - many of those which will lead to an early death.

He says: "14 units a week is low risk drinking. What’s really important is that a lot of these conditions, if you plot them on a graph, they’re a curve not a straight line.

"So for example you're drinking double the low risk amount – 28 units a week – your risk has not doubled, it has gone up more like 4 or 5 times of an early death from alcohol."

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Are you drinking more or less during the coronavirus lockdown? Credit: PA Images

Richard says that another way to tell if you should be worried about your drinking is if you've told yourself you're not going to drink one day, and you do anyway; or if the thought of not drinking for a month fills you with dread.


  • Start later every day - set yourself a time before you will have a drink.

  • Try to have alcohol free days - at lease 2 or 3 days off alcohol a week - and coordinate this with others in your home.

  • Watch your measure - learn what they are and track them

Richard adds by reducing your units, you can see health benefits quickly.

As well as long term health gains, you'll also see fresher skin, you'll sleep better and could lose weight.

Richard says there are 60 health conditions directly associated with alcohol - including seven types of cancer Credit: PA Images

I asked Richard if consuming alcohol at home is having an impact.

"If you're at home all the time you could be getting subconscious triggers to drink," he says.

When we drink at home, we can drink less safely - we can drink large measures."

He adds that one recent study found that the average glass of wine at drunk at home was over 300ml - that's nearly double the size of a standard 175ml glass served in a restaurant or bar.