Are you drinking more in lockdown? 40 per cent of Australians are!

Researchers are concerned with how much Aussies are drinking and how they're doing it.

The world’s largest drug survey has found how much Aussies have changed their drinking habits during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Two in five Australians say they are now drinking more than they were before February 2020.

But one of the most concerning findings is the number of people who are now drinking alone.

Related: Loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day

The Global Drug Survey COVID-19 Special Edition, which was co-lead by RMIT University, found twice as many people are now drinking alone while chatting to friends on zoom calls or during ‘watch parties’.

The concern is that this drinking habit can develop into problematic drinking.

“What was quite striking was almost half of the sample who reported drinking alone said they were drinking alone more often compared to before the pandemic,” Dr Monica Barratt from RMIT University said.

“Many of us are isolated at home and in some ways it's understandable but the more you drink alone, this is a danger sign for problematic drinking so it’s something to keep an eye on.”

Those who suffer from pre-diagnosed mental health issues, including depression, anxiety or finding it hard to cope, were also affected.

"Drinkers who reported having a diagnosed mental health condition were more likely to report increasing their drinking compared to February, before COVID-19 restrictions," Dr Barratt said.

“We’re all going through so much at the moment and I don’t know if education alone would help because we need to connect with each other and support each other.”

Related: What is mindful drinking?

However, the survey also found that two in five Australians are also drinking less.

The decrease is due to limited access to social settings where drinking would normally take place, including pubs and nightclubs.

The study also found that cannabis use in Australia had increased while the use of illegal party drugs had decreased.

The survey included 55,000 participants from around the world, including 1889 Australians.

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