According to data 24% of adults in England and Scotland regularly drink over the recommended allowance and 27% of drinkers in Great Britain binge drink on their heaviest days (over 8 units for men and over 6 units for women). In England, there are an estimated 602,391 dependent drinkers and only 18% of them are receiving help to help cut back.
In November we welcome Alcohol Awareness Week (15-21 November 2021) which is designed to raise awareness relating to drinking alcohol and encourage healthy drinking habits.
Post Lockdown Drinking
Experts warn that the added pressure of living in the recent COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased risk of unhealthy and excessive drinking with new concerns of people emerging from lockdown with new and harmful drinking habits.
The current Government guidance on safe drinking advises that men and women should not drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. If you do reach this limit then drinking should also be spread out over 3 or more days. For an idea on unit measurements, 14 units are equivalent to 6 pints of average strength beer or 10 small glasses of low strength wine.
Harmful Effects of Too Much Alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can take a toll on our health. One harmful effect is inflammation of the liver also known as alcoholic hepatitis. If this is not addressed early this can also lead to scarring of the liver called cirrhosis which is a potentially fatal disease. It can also cause cardiac issues such as increased blood pressure and cause damage to the heart muscle.
Research shows that heavy alcohol consumption also has direct links to several cancers including cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, breast, liver, colon and rectum.
Tips To Cut Back on Your Drinking
Here are a few simple tips for cutting down on alcohol consumption:
- Before you start drinking, set sensible limits on both how much you are going to drink and how much you can spend. Make sure that you stick to it.
- Speak up to your friends and family to let them know you are cutting down so that they can help to support you.
- There are plenty of low and alcohol-free options available so why not try swapping your drink for something with a lower alcohol percentage.
If you are concerned about your or a loved one’s alcohol intake and need support, then get in touch with us at The Mayfair GP today.