Alcohol awareness and Further Information
Regularly drinking above the recommended daily limit increases the risk of damaging your health. There is no guaranteed safe level of drinking, but if you drink less than the recommended daily limit, the risks of harming your health are low.
The NHS recommends:
Men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units a day.
Women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day.
'Regularly' means drinking these amounts every day or most days of the week.
It's not only those people who get drunk or binge drink
who are at risk. Most people who regularly drink more than the NHS recommends don't see any harmful effects at first. However, regularly drinking above recommended levels may lead to liver problems, reduced fertility, increased weight, high blood pressure, increased risk of various cancers and heart disease.
Alcohol has stronger and longer lasting effects as we become older. In other words the impact and effects of alcohol as we age may take us by surprise. Alcohol can sometimes make symptoms worse such as forgetfulness, depression, sleep problems, accidents and confusion. The recommended daily alcohol units for adults are 2-3 units for women, 3-4 units for men. However, as we become older the recommended amounts might be too much for some people and it may be advisable to cut down. If we are on medication or have particular health problems it may be best not to drink at all as the effects can be unpredictable. Alcohol can alter the way some medicines are processed in the body and it can prevent some medicines working properly or reduce their effectiveness. The side effects of some medicines can be exaggerated if taken with alcohol. For example, arthritis drugs taken with alcohol may cause stomach upsets.
You may be surprised to find out how much you actually drink. Download a drinks diary
to track your drinking over a week.
If you regularly drink more than the recommended limits, try these simple tips to help you cut down.
Make a plan: Before you start drinking, set a limit on how much you’re going to drink.
Set a budget: Only take a fixed amount of money to spend on alcohol.
Let them know: If you let your friends and family know you’re cutting down and that it’s important to you, you could get support from them.
Take it a day at a time: Cut back a little each day. That way, every day you do is a success.
Make it a smaller one: You can still enjoy a drink but go for smaller sizes. Try bottled beer instead of pints, or a small glass of wine instead of a large one.
Have a lower-strength drink: Cut down the alcohol by swapping strong beers or wines for ones with a lower strength (ABV in %). You'll find this information on the bottle.
Stay hydrated: Drink a pint of water before you start drinking, and don't use alcohol to quench your thirst. Have a soft drink instead.
Take a break: Have the odd day each week when you don’t have an alcoholic drink.
The most immediate effects of cutting down include: feeling better in the mornings, being less tired during the day, your skin may start to look better, you’ll start to feel fitter and you may stop gaining weight.
In the long-term benefits include improved mood, better sleeping patterns and a reduction in risk of long term health conditions.
Useful contacts and further information
If you would like to talk to someone about your own or someone else’s drinking, substance misuse or mental health, the Independence Trust can provide support, information and access to treatment services. Call the helpline on 0845 8638323 or visit www.independencetrust.co.ukfor more information.
Substance misuse and Further Information
For the people who take them, illegal drugs can be a serious problem. They're responsible for between 1,300 and 1,600 deaths a year in the UK, and destroy thousands of relationships, families and careers.
If you have a problem with drugs, there's a wide range of services that can help.
A good place to start is to visit your GP. Your GP can discuss your concerns with you, assess the nature of your problems and help you choose the most appropriate treatment. Your GP might offer to treat you or might refer you to your local specialist drug service.
If you would like to talk to someone other than your GP about your own or someone else’s substance misuse, drinking or mental health, the Independence Trust can provide support, information and access to treatment services. Call the helpline on 0845 8638323 or visit www.independencetrust.co.ukfor more information.
Useful contacts and further information