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14 August 2020 Posted by 

BAD HABITS OF COVID-19: We went on a bender during lockdown

DALLAS SHERRINGHAM
HAVING a drink is an accepted way of relieving stress after a hard day’s work, but during the COVID- 19 lockdown many of us went overboard.
The weeks of sitting at home were too much for one in five Aussies who now admit they drank too much during the crisis.
 
Eating too much was one problem we all faced and it became a source of merriment on social media and in the socially distanced general community.
 
However, the drinking problem has only emerged since restrictions were eased and for many it has turned into a bad habit they cannot escape.
 
Twenty percent of Australians wished they had drunk less alcohol during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to a new survey from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.
 
And that is only people who owned up to having a problem. Casual drinking every few days also noticeably increased amongst my business associates, friends and relatives.
 
The survey of 1000 Australians aged 18-65 also found a similar number, nearly 20%, want to reduce the amount of alcohol they have been consuming recently.
 
The release of the data comes as the Alcohol and Drug Foundation launches a new national health campaign – Break the Habit – revealing that it takes on average only around 66 days to form a habit – roughly the same amount of time many
Australians spent in lockdown. 
 
It is a fact that most Aussies are unaware of, with the poll data showing that fewer than 10% of Australians were able to accurately estimate how long on average it takes to form a new habit. 
 
Habit formation expert from the University of Melbourne, Professor Terry Bowles, said many of us may have picked up or formed new habits during the last few months without even realising it.
 
“The COVID-19 experience will have taught people different things, but for almost all of us, it has shown than we can quickly change our daily routines.” 
 
“Routine behaviors which can have a profound impact on our lives do not take a long time to form. So, as restrictions are gradually lifted across Australia and we emerge from months of isolation, we have passed the threshold of time required to establish new habits.
 
“That means the things we have been doing during isolation that we maybe did not do before, such as increased levels of exercise or an earlier bedtime, will be easy to keep doing. Similarly, if we started or expanded on unhelpful or unhealthy behaviors in isolation, such as increased alcohol consumption, we may find it hard to revert back to pre-isolation levels.”
 
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s new data shows that while 20% of Australians consumed less alcohol during the lockdown, a concerning number increased the amount they were drinking.
 
At least 12% of people drank every day during lockdown and 1 in 10 said that, on average, they drank more than the recommended National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) draft guidelines to reduce the risks from drinking alcohol, consuming more than 10 standard drinks per week. This increases the risk of alcohol-related injury and diseases like cancer. 
 
The Foundation’s Break the Habit campaign highlights that even small increases to the amount of alcohol you drink can become harder to shift over time. 


editor

Michael Walls
Publisher
P: 0407 783 413
E: Michael@accessnews.com.au

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Central Coast Business Access (CCBA) covers the business and community issues of the NSW Central Coast region. CCBA is a prime media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities.