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Millions of adults have a drink before these important life events

But 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.

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people, leisure, friendship and celebration concept - happy friends drinking draft beer and clinking glasses at bar or pub
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By Alice Hughes, 72Point via SWNS

Millions of adults have had an alcoholic drink before a funeral, a work presentation - and even a job interview.

A study of 2,000 adults, who drink, found 49 percent have had a beverage before an event or social occasion to increase confidence.

Such situations have included a family gathering (43 percent), the first social outing with new colleagues (25 percent), and catching a flight (23 percent).

More than one in 20 (seven percent) 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 percent), a vacation (48 percent) and someone else’s wedding day (43 percent).

The research was commissioned by alcohol-free spirit, SENTIA, co-founded by neuroscientist Professor David Nutt, and found a sixth (17 percent) admitted they feel the best version of themselves when drinking alcohol.

But 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," said SENTIA co-founder and neuropsychopharmacologist, Professor David Nutt.

“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.

"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.”

The research also found adults would struggle to dance in public (33 percent), give a speech (26 percent), or go on a date (18 percent) 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 percent) and uncomfortable (17 percent).

As well as a boost in confidence, people are more sociable (39 percent), happy (34 percent) and talkative (33 percent) once they’ve got a drink in them.

More than a third feel they ‘need’ a drink in some social situations (37 percent), 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, via Onepoll, have tried to give up or cut out alcohol - including 63 percent of 18-24 years old’s compared to 33 percent of over 65’s.

Reasons for trying to cut back included to improve health (59 percent), save money (50 percent) and avoid hangovers (38 percent).

“Connection is at the heart of what it means to be human and drinking is often at the heart of our social occasions," said SENTIA spokesperson, Brendan Williams.

“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."


1.    A night out 
2.    A holiday   
3.    A family gathering      
4.    Someone else’s wedding day    
5.    First date  
6.    My wedding day    
7.    A concert   
8.    First Christmas party with a new job
9.    A funeral   
10.   Another date (not first)      
11.   When meeting new friends      
12.   Watching a sports game  
13.   First social occasion with new colleagues 
14.   A hen do    
15.   When meeting my partner’s friends   
16.   Catching a flight 
17.   A stag do   
18.   When a ‘fresher’ at university      
19.   Doing karaoke
20.   Meeting my partner’s family for the first time
21.   Making an announcement e.g. I’m engaged
22.   Getting results/news e.g. exam results    
23.   A video call      
24.   Sharing something on social media   
25.   Playing a sports game e.g. playing football     

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