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Is lockdown making us turn more to alcohol, gambling and pornography?

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Researchers have launched a survey to find out if the lockdown is prompting us to drink more alcohol and spend more time gambling or watching pornography.

The 10-minute online survey, which is anonymous, will help reveal if our habits have changed during isolation - potentially as a form of coping mechanism.

Are we gambling more during the lockdown? (34588654)
Are we gambling more during the lockdown? (34588654)

Dr Valerie Voon, from the University of Cambridge, and Prof Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic, London, are seeking both those who do not consider themselves to be vulnerable or exhibiting problem behaviours and those who have struggled in the past or are struggling now.

Dr Voon, from the Department of Pyschiatry, said: “We expect to see an increase in these behaviours across the UK in response to the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in.

“In many cases, these changes will be people’s strategies for coping with the anxiety and stress caused by the pandemic and lockdown and, we hope, won’t have a long-term impact if the behaviour can be controlled.

“For some people who might already have been struggling with or have a history of addiction these increased habits could prove problematic.

“The same goes for those people who find themselves in difficult circumstances, for example having lost their job or facing financial difficulties, or are struggling to cope with the lockdown.

“These more vulnerable individuals may find their behaviour has a more marked longer lasting effect, triggering an alcohol relapse, for instance, or reigniting a gambling addiction.”

The survey, called HabiT – Habit Tracker - is for over-18s and can be found at https://cambridge.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3K80LU6DAHODmHr.

Survey respondents will also have the option to take part in CrusH, an alcohol avoidance online training game being developed for smartphones.

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