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Financial fears drive us to drink

Thursday March 17th 2011

As part of its research into causes of sickness in times of economic gloom, insurer, provider of mortgage insurance and income protection insurance, highlights the link between stress and alcohol abuse. Unsurprisingly, money worries are the main concern of stressed-out Britons, according to the results of a recent poll which revealed that 83% of us admit to suffering from some form of regular stress. Two thirds of us are still worried about the state of the economy and five out of the top six worries are all economic, highlighting the impact that the recent financial climate has made, and with 1,589 people being made redundant every day it's no wonder some people are seeking comfort in the bottle.

Figures from a recent NHS poll show that the reason almost half (42 per cent) of people who drink alcohol, do so to unwind after a stressful day but in fact this is the worst thing we should be doing. While a quarter of men turn to drink in times of worry, only 17 per cent of women drown their sorrows in alcohol.

A spokesperson from helpucover says "For those of us who turn to drink to forget our financial worries, we're damaging not only our health, but our relationships and our pockets." Harley Street GP for 44 years, Dr Richard Cooper, says "People are drinking more as the price of alcohol has fallen. But the true costs of alcohol can be that you pay with your life. Alcohol is not the answer to help with worries. If you are using alcohol to help you sleep, you're wasting your time as you will only wake up through the night. Sadly as many adults feel they have little to look forward to in tough economic times; drinking at home is becoming the ‘norm'. De-stress drinkers do it to try to regain control of life, when in fact it does the opposite."

Helpucover also highlights that for those of us who do still have a job, certain professions are more likely to turn to drink than others.
Media workers are the biggest consumers of wine, spirits, liqueurs and shots, drinking on average 44 units a week. IT workers, who are closely followed by service-sector workers drink on average 33 units, and people in finance, insurance and real estate at 29 units per week.

People working in education, transport and travel are the country's most moderate drinkers, consuming an average of 24 units a week, although that is above the recommended limit for women and around the maximum for men.
Teachers and drivers are most likely to monitor their alcohol intake, with about half keeping track of their units, compared with under a third (29%) working in the media and IT.

The NHS recommended maximum consumption for men is 21 to 28 units a week – three to four units a day. For women, the maximum is 14-21 units a week – two to three units a day.
GP, Dr Richard Cooper adds "for people who simply cannot stop drinking every day, self help groups are the answer. And in times of economic hardship, they are free. Your GP cannot stop you drinking; only you can."
Shock financial statistics

• 8,004 new debt problems are dealt with by the Citizens Advice Bureau each day. A property is repossessed every 17 minutes
• 12% of British adults would be unable to keep up their mortgage repayments if their income fell by £300
• There are more credit cards in the UK than people (UK Payment Council)
• The jobless total in the UK is now at 2.5m 

Mintel 2011
Office of National Statistics March 2011
Alcohol Concern
Office of National Statistics March 2011

Dr Richard Cooper
Qualified at Charing Cross Hospital in 1965 and was a Principal in NHS General Practice from 1966 until 1976. He is a registered medical practitioner and I have considerable experience in family medicine.
Dr Copper has been Chief Medical Officer to Cardif Pinnacle Insurance Company (plc) since 1991. He has been involved with the Insurance Medicine world for many years and acts as Senior Medical Examiner for all the large insurance companies. Dr Cooper is a Council Member of the Assurance Medical Society and Independent Doctors Forum (IDF). He is also the Education Officer for the IDF and arranges monthly breakfast meetings with eminent speakers from all walks of medicine. Dr Cooper has written many articles on a wide range of medical conditions and other medical matters. He still works (full time) in his Harley Street Practice.
For media enquiries, please contact: (Cardif Pinnacle)
Barbara Russell – Head of Marketing

Sarah Potter – Communications Manager 020 8207 9000

Notes to Editors
About is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc - one of the UK's leading insurers. "Pinnacle Insurance plc is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority".

About Cardif Pinnacle
Cardif Pinnacle (a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc) is the UK insurance unit of BNP Paribas Assurance, which is the life and property & casualty arm of BNP Paribas. BNP Paribas Assurance counts over 8,000 employees, 74% of them outside France. BNP Paribas Assurance had gross written premiums of €20.7 billion in 2009. It generated 41% of its 2009 gross written premiums outside France. BNP Paribas Assurance is the world leader in creditor insurance and the fourth-largest life insurance company in France. BNP Paribas Assurance is actively committed to exemplary Corporate Social Responsibility. It has adopted a Socially Responsible Investment program, encourages diversity throughout the enterprise (earning the "Equality at Work" label in France) and supports local economic development in the markets where it operates. BNP Paribas Assurance is equally committed to environmental responsibility, deploying an action plan to achieve a 10-percent reduction in the company's carbon emissions.
Formed in 1971 and currently employing circa 750 staff in the UK, Cardif Pinnacle has established itself as a leading provider of Protection solutions. Cardif Pinnacle acquired Warranty Direct and Direct Life and Pension Services in 2008, specialists in the provision of warranty and life insurance products.

With an emphasis on quality of service for clients and customers, Cardif Pinnacle is a preferred partner to more than 250 of the UK's leading Banks, Building Societies, Finance Houses and Intermediaries.