Alcohol is an accepted part of our socialising, but do you know how much you’re drinking and what the safe level of alcohol consumption is?
November 13 to 19 is Alcohol Awareness Week, and it would be a good time to check if you know your limits.
There is no safe amount of alcohol to drink, but both sexes should never drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread over three to four days.
The number of units in a drink is based on alcohol strength and size of drink so be careful of hidden units!
Alcohol and your body
Regular heavy drinking can increase your risk of developing a wide range of conditions such as liver disease, cancer, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure and depression, amongst others.
Alcohol is one of the biggest lifestyle risk factors for disease and death in the UK.
Are you drinking too much?
If you feel you should be cutting down or people have criticised you for the amount you drink, you might need to cut back.
Warning signs of drinking too much include needing a drink first thing in the morning, drinking to steady your nerves and regularly being unable to remember what happened during a drinking session.
Cutting down and cutting out
Use a drink tracking app or drink diary to track how much you are drinking.
Regularly drinking a little too much can be easily solved with lifestyle changes, like using smaller glasses, drinking soft drinks and choosing lower strength drinks.
Being dependent on alcohol is a much more serious issue. This kind of dependent drinking can severely affect your health, work, life and relationships.
A dependent drinker may be able to tolerate levels of alcohol that would seriously harm or kill some people; they may be in denial about how much they drink.
If you’re concerned about your or someone else’s drinking, talk to your GP or online doctor.
They will be able to discuss what treatments are available and refer you to the correct services.
* Dr. Alexandra Phelan is an NHS GP and Online Doctor for Pharmacy2U.
Manage your repeat prescriptions by going to www.pharmacy2u.co.uk/NHS