Millions drink harmful levels of alcohol

Figures released in January show that the number of people in England drinking at harmful levels has increased dramatically during the pandemic. One reason for this could be the switch to drinking at home, while the pubs were shut, meaning longer drinking sessions. Another reason could be that we tend not to keep track of our measures when drinking at home. It is also thought that the anxiety and uncertainty around the pandemic and restrictions could have changed our habits around alcohol.

The government’s recommendation is that we drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, with a couple of alcohol free days and spreading out your drinks over the week rather than having them all on one or two days.

Cutting back on how much you drink can improve your health, help you lose weight, gives you more energy and mean you have more money. Any reduction you make to how much you drink is going to be beneficial.

NHS Better Health has some practical tips to help us cut back.

  • Plan ahead what your weekly unit target is and stick to it.
  • Switch to lower strength drinks.
  • Stick with it - it might take a while to get used to the changes you make.
  • Try other social activities apart from going out for a drink.
  • Set a budget and only take cash out so you aren’t tempted to spend more.
  • Avoid buying rounds and say no if someone offers to buy you a drink.
  • Only drink with a meal.
  • Find something else to do if you are using alcohol as a tool to beat boredom or other emotions.

It is important to get medical advice before you stop drinking if you have physical withdrawal symptoms (like shaking, sweating or feeling anxious until you have your first drink of the day). It can be dangerous to stop drinking too quickly without proper help.

What is your first step to reducing how much you drink?

 

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