The survey found that respondents to GDS2020 from predominately English-speaking countries and Scandinavia get drunk more times per year than other countries. Women under 25 years old were most likely to seek emergency medical treatment (EMT) following drinking (3%) and 5% of people under 25 in the UK reported having sought hospital treatment after getting drunk, compared with a global average of 2%.
GDS2020 defined being drunk as “having drunk so much that your physical and mental faculties are impaired to the point where your balance / speech was affected, being unable to focus clearly on things and that conversation and behaviours appear very obviously different to people who know you”.
Using this definition, 16% of respondents reported NEVER having got drunk in the last year and on average respondents reported getting drunk 21 times in the last 12 months (highest among men under 25 years (28 times), lowest among women 25+years(12 times).
Participants from English-speaking countries and Scandinavia reported getting drunk most often (UK 34 times in last year, Australia/Denmark 32, Finland 28), while participants from South American countries reported the lowest number of occasions (Argentina and Colombia less than 7 times). Young women were most likely to seek EMT at a rate of 3.4% almost 3 times that of women (1.2%) and men (1.3%) over 25 years old.
On average respondents to GDS2020 reported regretting getting drunk on 30% of occasions. The top drinking behaviours associated with getting drunk and regretting it were: drinking too much too quickly (64%), mixing drinks (39%) and being with people who engage in heavy drinking (36%). Regret was highest among respondents from countries reporting getting drunk least often. Globally, GDS2020 participants who drank alcohol in the last 12 months reported regretting getting drunk on 33% of occasions, with women (39%) regretting getting drunk more often than men (30%).
Not surprisingly, a bad hangover (75%) was the top consequence of drinking that led people to say they regretted getting drunk, followed by ‘saying something you normally would not have said’ (41%) and increased anxiety the next day (31%).Gender differences were also evident, with women more likely than men to report increased anxiety the next day, unwanted sexual episodes and being taken advantage of sexually when drunk.