Alcohol Awareness Week

This week (16th-22nd November) is alcohol awareness week, and the theme this year is alcohol and mental health. According to charity Alcohol Change UK, over half (53%) of UK drinkers have turned to alcohol for mental health reasons during the pandemic, such as feeling anxious, stressed or worried, feeling bored, having trouble sleeping, or feeling sad or low – at least once in the past six months. Unfortunately, those worst affected have been BAME, young people aged 18-34 and parents of under 18s, with 68%, 63%, and 59% respectively drinking for mental health reasons, compared to those who are White British, older, do not have children/have children over 18.

Drinking alcohol is often perceived as helping us to relax because it initially promotes dopamine release, however it is also a depressant meaning it can often worsen mood over time and exacerbate anxiety, stress and depression. In particular, depression and heavy drinking have a mutually reinforcing relationship – meaning that either condition increases a person’s chances of experiencing the other.

So, what are the recommendations for alcohol in the UK?

The UK Chief Medical Officer advises drinking no more than 14 units maximum spread across a week, which is equivalent to:

6 pints (568ml) of beer

OR

6 medium (175ml) glasses of wine

OR

14 shots (25ml) of spirits such as vodka, gin or rum

OR

A combination of the above

Tips to reduce alcohol intake

  • Use smaller glasses
  • Buy smaller bottles e.g. beer/cider
  • Measure shots rather than pouring free-hand
  • Try low or no-alcohol alternatives instead
  • Keep alcohol consumption to mealtimes
  • Allocate at least a few drink-free days per week
  • Keep track of your units
  • Seek support from your partner/family/friends
Support and motivation. Quit smoking completely within 12 weeks
Kevan - 04/03/2019
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