WHEN IT comes to alcohol consumption, a large proportion of the Irish public “may be in denial” about the amount they drink.
That’s according to a new study from the Health Research Board (HRB) that found many are failing to recognise the potentially harmful effect their drinking habits may be having.
Based on data compiled in Ireland’s Drug Prevalence Survey from 2014/15, researchers found the majority of low risk drinkers were able to accurately estimate how much alcohol they consumed.
By contrast, just a third of regular binge drinkers were able to identify their excessive drinking habits as being harmful to their health.
Binge drinking is technically defined as any single session in which three or more pints of beer or six or more measures of spirits are consumed.
The study also found just one in three drinkers who fell into the category of being alcohol dependent nevertheless classed themselves as moderate or light drinkers.
Classed as any individual who experiences alcohol cravings or a lack of control when drinking, half of those survey in the study who were technically alcohol dependent, suggested they were simply “light” or “moderate” drinkers who “sometimes binge drink”.
Over 7,000 people across Ireland aged 15 and over were interview as part of the study, which has been published in the British Medical Journal.
Respondents involved in the research were quizzed on how much they drank and their self-perceptions of their own drinking.
The findings showed that while one in five men technically classed as alcohol dependent described themselves to be heavy drinkers, only one in 10 women with similar issues did the same.
Commenting on the findings, lead researcher Dr Deirdre Mongan expressed concern that such a large number of Irish people with alcohol dependence issues believed themselves to be light or moderate drinkers.
‘The results of the study highlight that patterns of alcohol use in Ireland are problematic, and that a large proportion of Irish people may be in denial about the potential harmful effects of their drinking behaviour on their health,” she said.