Tuesday, November 17, 2015
It is widely accepted that alcohol affects many different parts of our body, such as liver health and brain function. The effects alcohol has on the body have been well documented and researched, with the findings made readily available to the public. We all know too much alcohol is not good for our health, but on the other hand, do we really know for sure if total alcohol avoidance is the best thing for our wellbeing?
In the run-up to this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week, the discussion turns to controlling your alcohol intake and knowing how to drink in moderation. Alcohol Awareness Week this year is to run from the 16th to the 22nd of November. It is an annual event organised by Alcohol Concern and its purpose is to spread awareness and information about alcohol and the effects it has on the body.
Many charities and local councils get involved in the event, organising activities and informative talks on the subject of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption. Emphasis will be placed upon encouraging drinkers of all ages to learn to drink sensibly and safely, identifying their limits and making informed choices about their drinking habits.
We have been told time and time again that if we are going to consume alcohol, then it should be done in moderation. There are a plethora of research studies that promote alcohol in moderation due to the health benefits it can produce, such as reduced risk of dementia, Alzheimer and reduced risk of cardiovascular problems. However, not many people know exactly how much alcohol is considered a moderate amount.
The governmental guidelines recommend that women should drink no more than 2-3 units of alcohol a day and men should drink no more than 3-4 units a day. This equates to a standard 175ml glass of wine for women and just over a pint of strong lager, bitter or cider for men. In order to stick to these guidelines, you should know how many units are in each alcoholic drink:
The guidelines surrounding how many units men and women should drink are based on a daily intake. It is not like a diet where you can save your points up for the end of the week; you cannot save your units up for a drinking session at the weekend. Binge drinking is extremely dangerous and can cause serious damage within the body.
Abstaining from alcohol is often a personal choice but there are certain instances where it is advisable to avoid alcohol whether you want to or not. People with any kind of liver damage should avoid alcohol completely. The liver is a regenerating organ and as long as the damage to it is reversible, it can heal itself. Alcohol interrupts this healing process, however, and can make the damage much worse.
Individuals who are stressed, overtired or feeling depressed should also avoid alcohol. While it may be tempting to pour a glass of wine after a long and stressful day, as alcohol is a depressant, it can make the situation seem much worse. Turning to drinking when stressed or upset can also lead to an unhealthy pattern, making you feel like you need to rely on alcohol every time you have a bad day.
Noticing the signs that alcohol is taking over your life is very important. Drinking too much too often cannot only harm your body but also affect other aspects of your life such as your social life, family life and work. Signs which may indicate that your alcohol consumption is becoming a problem include:
If you are concerned about how much alcohol you are drinking, then it is important to seek help. There are many alcohol charities and organisations you can contact or visit your GP who will be able to help get on the road to recovery.