There’s no place like London when it comes to pubs. It has a pub culture like nowhere else in Britain, probably even the world. As shifts come to an end, the capital’s bars become full of people wanting to enjoy a few ales before heading home.
This begs the question, does London have an alcohol problem?
Of course, not everyone in London does, and not everyone who goes for a post-work pint does either. But there is a significant number of people in the city that do suffer from alcoholism, more so than other UK cities, and that’s not just because more people live there.
Primrose Lodge, an alcohol detox clinic in Surrey, has seen a notable rise in patients in recent years, while official government statistics are showing that 280,000 people have an addiction to booze in the city, and a further 2.4 million people are drinking to dangerous levels. That’s in a population of around 7.2 million adults.
But why does London suffer more than other areas of the country?
The Pressures of Work
There’s always been seemingly more pressure on jobs in London. It’s where many businesses base their headquarters and where many key decisions are made. That puts pressure and stress on lives.
Of course, there are many coping mechanisms to stress, from the gym to cycling, meditation to yoga, but when there’s a pub on every street corner, Londoners find it a lot easier to go there. As do many people around the world. Alcohol is far too frequently used as a coping mechanism, and it’s one of the core reasons that so many people in the city are suffering.
The Stresses of a Fast-paced City
At the same time, the fast-paced nature of everything in London can also subconsciously lead to drinking. We see alcohol as an escape, and even a mad dash across the city can encourage someone to take half an hour out to sit in a quiet pub and just unwind from that.
But when the city is like that 24 hours a day, it’s difficult to escape from, and people tend to use the pub option far too frequently.
Social Pressures of Drinking
In some industries, the city just hasn’t modernized. Where lunch meetings were once done in the pub or after deadlines on Fleet Street, journalists would dive out of the office into the pub; that isn’t the norm anymore.
But the remains are still there, and some businesses and industries are still pressuring their staff to take a drink after work. It’s a slippery slope that can lead many people down a dark path.
In fact, in many cases in rehab, the social pressures around drinking are a key factor in the development of an addiction.
That, along with the cultural norms of London, where it is so easy to get a pint, is contributing to a large volume of alcoholics. While that is starting to change, the rise in alcoholism in general as a result of the pandemic, cost-of-living crisis, and various other factors is slowing the change to a point where we are still seeing more and more people start to suffer.