More than a quarter of people in the UK have lied about how much they drink – with six in ten of those admitting they lied to their GP, new research has revealed.
A survey carried out by YouGov Omnibus and Yahoo News UK asked just over 2,000 people if they had ever told someone that they drink less alcohol than they actually do, with 27% answering yes.
When asked who they had lied to about their drinking, nearly six in ten (59%) admitted to lying to their GP – with 14% admitting lying FIVE times or more.
According to the poll, while 27% of people admitted lying, nearly six in ten (58%) said they had never lied about how much they drink.
When it comes to those who did admit saying they drink less than they actually do, nearly a third (31%) did so to their children, four in ten (43%) had lied to their parents and a similar number (39%) had lied to friends.
Nearly four in ten (37%) admitted lying to their partner about how much they drink, with 13% saying they had lied five times or more.
In terms of work relationships, a quarter (25%) of those who admitted had done so to their line manager, while 32% had lied to colleagues.
Listen to the full episode of Britain is a Nation of… below
Speaking on the latest episode of Yahoo UK’s podcast Britain is a Nation of…, Professor Ian Hamilton, lecturer in mental health and addiction at the University of York, said: “All I know is we all lie, we collectively lie about how much we drink.”
He referred to previous research which revealed a discrepancy between the amount of alcohol sold and the amount people said they were drinking – suggesting people aren’t being truthful about what they consume.
A 2013 study by University College London and Health Survey for England confirmed international studies that suggested that reported alcohol consumption based on surveys asking people how much and how often they drink typically amounts to 40%-60% of total alcohol sales.
“In some ways I don’t think many of us would really be shocked by that because it’s not everyone out there, it’s us. We’re the ones,” said Prof Hamilton.
“When I go and see my GP or practice nurse, I underplay a load of things. They start asking me about smoking, drinking, drugs, whatever, I tell them what I think they want to hear and what I’m willing to reveal.”
People’s reluctance to tell the truth about how much they drink could be about a worry over how they are perceived, Prof Hamilton tells the podcast.
“It’s interesting, when I have chats this month with colleagues about Dry January… they’ll say, ‘oh I’m doing Dry January – not that I had a problem!’
“And I think, ‘wow that’s weird’, and it almost has the opposite effect. I think, ‘that gets my alarm bells ringing. Why are you being so defensive? I didn’t even ask you about that, in fact I didn’t ask you about anything’.
“It’s always with this waiver of, ‘I’m in control’.”