Young adult drinkers are more likely to binge drink and drink at high-risk or possible dependent levels compared to the rest of the population, according to new research by Drinkaware, published today (Friday).
The research surveyed 5,213 young adults aged 18 to 24 over a six-year period and revealed that while more young adults are not drinking alcohol, rising from 14 per cent in 2017 to 21 per cent in 2023, four in five (79 per cent) still drink alcohol. Young adults who drink alcohol are more likely to binge drink (74 per cent vs 63 per cent), and they are twice as likely to drink at high risk or possible dependent levels compared to the rest of the population (11 per cent vs. six per cent).
The survey also found that compared to drinkers aged 25 and over:
- Young adult drinkers are more likely to screen positive for anxiety or depression (43 per cent vs. 26 per cent)
- Young adult drinkers are more likely to experience memory loss (40 per cent vs. 19 per cent), morning cravings (14 per cent vs. 4 per cent), and failure to meet their usual responsibilities (24 per cent vs. 12 per cent)
- Young adult drinkers are more likely to drink alcohol on nights out with friends (84 per cent vs. 74 per cent) but less likely to drink alone at home (43 per cent vs. 52 per cent)
- Young adults drink less often, at least once a week (46 per cent v 56 per cent)
Karen Tyrell, the charity Drinkaware’s Chief Executive, said:
“It is really encouraging to see more young adults choosing not to drink and those that do, drink less often. These positive trends are welcome, but we must be careful that they don’t mask some of the more concerning drinking behaviours that still exist. Young people are still more likely to binge drink than other age groups and suffer from memory loss and depression, linked to their drinking.”
“We must ensure that young people’s drinking habits are not ignored, and they are properly addressed as part of any new alcohol strategy. We need to normalise conversations around alcohol, making it easier for people to speak up and get help if they are worried about their own or others drinking.”