LONDON — Millions of adults have had an alcoholic drink before a funeral, a work presentation, and even a job interview. Now, a new study of 2,000 British adults who drink found 49 percent have had a beverage before an event or social occasion to increase confidence.
These situations include family gatherings (43%), the first social outing with new colleagues (25%), and catching a flight (23%). More than one in 20 (7%) have even had a “shot” of courage before a job interview, while 10 percent have done so before a video call.
Among the top situations in which people drink to feel their best are on nights out (55%), a holiday (48%), and someone else’s wedding day (43%).
The research, commissioned by alcohol-free spirit, SENTIA, co-founded by neuroscientist Professor David Nutt, also found a sixth (17%) admit that they feel like “the best version of themselves” when drinking alcohol. However, 36 percent wish they could feel this way without having to rely on a drink and 46 percent struggle with confidence in social situations if they’re not drinking.
“It’s really interesting to see that more than half of those polled (53 percent), would choose a drink that gives them all the benefits of alcohol without the negatives if they could,” says Prof. David Nutt in a statement.
“The exciting thing is, with the scientific advances in food technology in recent decades, this drink exists. We have discovered a specific blend of botanical ingredients that interact to target GABA activity – that’s the neurotransmitter responsible for sensations of sociability – in the brain,” the neuropsychopharmacologist continues.
“This triggers the same response we experience when we have roughly two alcoholic drinks – the volume the majority of those polled said they needed to feel their best self. Enhanced GABA activity has been scientifically found to increase sociability and conviviality whilst reducing anxiety.”
People get quiet without alcohol
The survey, conducted by OnePoll, also found adults would struggle to dance in public (33%), give a speech (26%), or go on a date (18%) without alcohol in their system. A further 47 percent would feel nervous on a first date sober and 18 percent would be anxious on their own wedding day.
A night out without drinking would leave people feeling quiet (17%) and uncomfortable (17%). As well as a boost in confidence, people are more sociable (39%), happy (34%), and talkative (33%) once they’ve got a drink in them.
More than a third feel they “need” a drink in some social situations (37%), but 18 percent would find drinking non-alcoholic beverages easier if they knew someone else who was doing the same. A further four in 10 polled have tried to give up or cut out alcohol, including 63 percent of 18 to 24-years-olds compared to 33 percent of people over 65.
Reasons for trying to cut back included to improve health (59%), save money (50%), and avoid hangovers (38%).
“Connection is at the heart of what it means to be human and drinking is often at the heart of our social occasions,” SENTIA spokesperson Brendan Williams adds. “We hope to help produce those feelings of sociability in the brain, helping conscious drinkers and healthy hedonists come together and feel great in these moments.”
Top 25 Situation People Have an Alcoholic Drink:
- A night out
- A vacation
- A family gathering
- Someone else’s wedding day
- First date
- My wedding day
- A concert
- First holiday party with a new job
- A funeral
- Another date (not first)
- When meeting new friends
- Watching a sports game
- First social occasion with new colleagues
- A bachelorette party
- When meeting my partner’s friends
- Catching a flight
- A bachelor party
- Freshman year of college
- Doing karaoke
- Meeting my partner’s family for the first time
- Making an announcement e.g. I’m engaged
- Getting results/news e.g. exam results
- A video call
- Sharing something on social media
- Playing a sports game e.g. playing football
72Point writer Alice Hughes contributed to this report.