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UK staff driven to drink by excessive stress levels

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More than half the nation's workforce feels so tense at the end of their working day that they often have to reach for alcohol to help them relax - and more than one in ten have left a job in the past due to high stress levels.

A survey of 3,000 employees by healthcare cash plan provider

Medicash, found one in ten respondents report feeling stressed before they even arrive at work and 6% feel stressed all the time.

The survey found almost a third of workers have called in sick because they had "reached the end of their tether" while 12% have quit their job altogether.

The problem is more acute in small businesses with workers 50% more likely to take time off work as a result of stress.

Sue Weir, chief executive of Medicash, said: "Worryingly, a third of Britons admitted in the survey to having deliberately drunk too much in a bid to relax and escape work stress. Small amounts of alcohol can be good for us but regularly relying on alcohol to lift your mood after a bad day can lead to long-term dependence. Incorporating healthy eating and exercise into your daily routine is one way to break this cycle."

Those working in research and development set the best example with more than 40% saying they use exercise to help them relax. Twenty percent of those working in electronics use meditation to relax compared to only 4% of bankers.

Teachers and those working in health are the most likely to have broken down in tears at work whereas recruitment executives are the most likely to keep a cool head under pressure with 13% claiming never to experience stress.

Nearly half of the construction workers surveyed said that they need a drink to de-stress at the end of most days. They are also the most likely to call in sick more than any other profession: a whopping 57% claiming to have done so twice in the last month.