Young people drink more alcohol than they think they do

Young people often fail to remain sensible about the amount of alcohol they consume because they do not have the skills or knowledge required to stick to recommended levels of drinking.

According to a new study, led by Richard de Visser from the University of Sussex and published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review, university students in England tend to consume drink amounts that are significantly larger than the recommended unit.

In addition, it was demonstrated that these individuals are prone to underestimating the unit content of drinks.

Mr de Visser noted: "Our results mean that people's reports of drinking patterns in research may lead to inaccurate estimates of the health effects of different levels of alcohol use."

He added the findings may mean alcohol education and the media may need to be altered in order to improve understanding on the matter.

John Castleton, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "This research suggests that young people are similar to adults in making inaccurate estimates of their drinking.

"In 2011, Drinkaware found that only 42 per cent of adults could equate alcohol units to actual drinks.

"This may not be surprising, as the Department of Health issued sensible drinking guidance before stronger drinks or larger measures became popular and has not been updated to reflect changes in products or drinking patterns.

"For example, a standard glass of wine contains one unit; but that is based on 125ml at around eight per cent abv – alcohol by volume. In contrast, 250ml glasses are now common in bars – or larger glasses at home - and many wines now have 13 per cent ABV or more; a 250ml glass of 13 per cent wine contains 3.25 units. Similarly, one pint of standard lager, contains two units, but strong lagers (nine per cent abv) contain 5.1 units per pint.

"And, as Alcohol Concern and DrugScope have pointed out, the popular idea of binge drinking is to reach a state of intoxication, whereas the guidance defines a binge as drinking eight or more units for men and six or more units for women."