Don’t bottle it up
You’ve probably heard a lot of the stats about drinking before. Alcohol costs society £21 billion every year in lost productivity, crime, and costs to the NHS. 650,000 people are the victim of alcohol-related crime every year. And over 1 million people every year are admitted to hospital with an alcohol-related condition.
Admittedly, it can sometimes be hard to draw a link between those statistics and a few pints at the pub after a hard day’s work, the glasses of champagne at a friend’s birthday last weekend, or even that succession of heavy nights in the run up to the holiday season.
So here are some facts that might matter more to you:
1. Alcohol is the third biggest risk factor to your health after smoking and obesity, and has been identified as a causal factor in over 60 medical conditions including heart disease, strokes, and of course liver disease.
2. Drinking alcohol increases your risk of mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast cancer.
3. Heavy drinking disrupts your sleep cycle, leaving you feeling tired and sluggish the next day and making that hangover feel that bit worse.
4. Right now, 10.8 million adults in England are drinking at levels that pose some risks to their health.
But what constitutes risky drinking?
The Chief Medical Officer’s low risk drinking guidelines recommend that adults drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, and to spread this out over three or more drinking days.
The number of units you drink depends on the size and strength of your drink, but to take a few examples a pint of 5 per cent lager contains about 3.4 units, whereas a small glass of 12 per cent wine contains about 1.7 units, and a double gin and tonic contains 2 units.
The risk of developing a range of health problems increases the more units you consume on a regular basis.
Want to know if your drinking is putting your health at risk?
The easiest way is by taking the online DontBottleItUp test. Totally confidential, and based on a World Health Organisation developed tool, DontBottleItUp is a free, simple way of finding out if you’re drinking at risky levels. Whether its tips on how to cut down on your drinking, or where you can find that extra support to help manage your drinking, DontBottleItUp has it covered.
And the best part? It only takes two minutes.
So what’s stopping you? Take the test this Alcohol Awareness Week.