TOO many people `self-medicate' with alcohol to make themselves feel better, says a study.
Research from the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) found that 88% of people would find it difficult to give up alcohol completely, while 77% said it made them feel relaxed.
Almost two-thirds (63%) said alcohol made them feel happy, 51% felt less inhibited and 41% felt more confident.
Some 44% felt booze made them `able to fit in socially', 40% felt less anxious and 31% felt they could make friends more easily.
The poll, accompanied by an MHF report into alcohol and mental health called Cheers?, follows recent research which showed that Britons are the biggest binge drinkers in Europe.
The authors of Cheers? said evidence showed that many adults in the UK are using alcohol to deal with feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.
But they warned that excessive drinking increases vulnerability to a range of mental health problems - because regular drinking changes the chemistry of the brain.