Trend for larger wine glasses is creating 'unwitting alcoholics'

The trend towards drinking from huge wine glasses at home is turning some people into "unwitting" alcoholics, an addiction expert has warned.

Extra large wine measures that are poured in pubs are also adding to the growing levels of problem drinkers.

Nick Gully, the director of addiction services at the Priory Clinic in Roehampton, where numerous celebrities have been treated, said the relaxation of licensing laws had "normalised" excess drinking and would lead to more people becoming dependent on alcohol.

"The size of measures and glasses have grown in recent years,"Mr Gully said.

"People have become used to these outsized glasses. They fill them up and believe it's OK because they are only having one glass, but that can now amount to a third of a bottle. If they have a small glass, they feel cheated.

"It's the same in pubs. Someone goes to a bar and feels cheated if they are given a small glass.

"People expect larger measures. They have become normalised and, with it, the amount of alcohol we drink has gone up and has become normalised by society as well."

"Five or 10 years ago, the average age of our patients who had an alcohol problem was about 45; now it is about 35 and we are seeing people as young as 18 who are alcoholics.

"We were used to treating people who, when we looked, had an underlying psychological trauma or a major psychological problem which had contributed to their addiction but we are now seeing patients who don't have that history.

"They are well-adjusted, functioning people who have inadvertently and unwittingly developed a problem over time.

"Often they will say that they do not have a problem and that they only drink one or two glasses of wine a night. But when we look at them in depth they have a psychological and physical dependence on alcohol."

Government guidelines recommend that women drink a maximum of two to three units a day and men up to three or four.

A small, 125ml glass of wine contains one unit of alcohol but a standard pub measure was increased to 175ml last year and larger glasses may contain as much as 250ml.

Many stores are also increasingly selling much larger, goblet style wine glasses that can hold up to half a bottle.

Mr Gully said he believed that the relaxation of licensing laws would lead to an "accumulative" rise in problem drinking.

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