Greeks Drinking to ‘Escape Reality’

A senior Greek medic has warned that the country is drinking too much, too regularly, compared to the rest of Europe.

Athanasios Douzhenis, a professor of psychiatry at Attikon Hospital, told broadcaster FM Agency every Greek consumes 10.3 liters of alcohol a year. Although, according to Douzhenis, only 10 percent of drinkers had a dependency on alcohol, about 40 percent drink “very regularly”.

While it is men who account for most problem drinking, coupled with other self-destructive behaviors like smoking, more women are catching up by consuming more alcohol, Douzhenis claimed.

“The consumer drinks to stun [themselves] and escape reality, not to have fun,” he added. The economic crisis accelerated these processes, with data showing increased consumption of poor-quality alcohol from 2010 onwards.

He was speaking ahead of a major conference being called by Alcoholics Anonymous at the Cultural Center of the Municipality of Athens next Friday.

The claim of spreading alcohol abuse follows an investigation in Greek newspaper Kathimerini earlier this week which quoted data from the University Mental Health Research Institute in Athens which showed 94.1 percent of respondents aged up to 16 had consumed alcohol at some point and 66.2 percent in the month preceding the survey.