GDS 2020: Alcohol and regret

Alcohol & regret: consequences and lessons learned

Global Drug Survey (GDS) runs the world’s largest survey. Over the last 8 years more than half a million people have people have responded to our section on alcohol. From the link between different alcoholic beverages and emotions and the impact health warning labels to motivations for drinking less and development of free apps such as the Drinks Meter, GDS has never ignored the world’s most popular drug.

Last year GDS2019 asked people how often they got drunk. English speaking countries came out on top, reporting getting drunk an average of 50 times per year, with German speaking countries being more moderate in their excesses. While most of the occasions on which participants reported getting drunk were reported as being enjoyable, on about 20% of occasions the consequence was one of regret.

As can be seen from the graph below the rates of regret varied between countries. While some differences will be due to differences in the mean age of respondents (our Danish sample was the youngest, while NZ sample was the oldest), various cultural differences in what is understood by ‘getting drunk’ and what qualifies for ‘regret’ will also be at play. So, this year we thought we better untangle those issues and focus on what happened when you got drunk that made you regret it and why do you think you it happened.

From work done by GDS, we already know that heavier drinkers tend to regret getting drunk more often than occasional drinkers. It seems women over the age of 25 years report regret getting drunk more often than younger men. But we are not so sure of what the biggest regrets are and most importantly what are the top reasons you think these regrets occurred? GDS is hoping that by analysing data from 100,000 people who drink alcohol who we expect to take part in GDS2020 this year, we can help people identify those key factors to avoid if you want to have fun when you choose to drink. We’ll also ask about your thoughts on additional/alternative drinking guidelines that might offer some practical, acceptable advice to people who are already drinking at risky levels.

Your experience and your help make GDS what it is.  If you have used alcohol over the last 12 months and want to help the world have honest conversations about alcohol, regret and other issues related to drug use please take 20-30 minutes and share your experience with thousands of others in GDS2020 now at