Are you worried you are drinking too much?

Alcohol Awareness Week 2017 takes place between 13-19th November

There are approximately 215,400 people in Surrey who misuse alcohol and 21,000 who are moderately to severely alcohol dependant. In the county, alcohol-related hospital admissions have more than doubled in the last ten years and alcohol-related illnesses and injuries are estimated to cost the NHS in Surrey over £73.5 million per year.

This Alcohol Awareness Week (13-19 November) we are asking you to consider how much alcohol you drink in an average week, and whether this is safe. 2016 guidance from the Chief Medical Officer suggests that it is safest not to exceed 14 units of alcohol per week. That’s equivalent to six pints of average strength lager (4% ABV) or six 175ml glasses of wine (12% ABV).

Click here to take a short quiz, provided by local alcohol awareness scheme ‘Don’t Bottle It Up’, which will help you to identify what kind of relationship you have with alcohol and possible advice or support you may need.

 

Tips for cutting down your weekly alcohol intake

Have a plan and stick to it - You may find it helpful to make a plan and set some limits for how much you're going to drink in the week. This may be helped by setting yourself a budget for your weekly alcohol spend.

One step at a time - Cut back on your alcohol intake a little more each day. This will make the process easier and every day will be another success!

Choose lower strength drinks - Swap your drinks for lower strength drinks (% of proof). All the information you need is on the bottle.

Don't bottle it up - Make the people around you aware that you are serious about this. Hopefully they will support you and maybe even join you in cutting down.

Make it a small one! - Swap a large glass of wine for a small one. Swap a pint of beer for a bottle of beer. This will help you to cut down alcohol intake without having to cut it out completely.

 

Drinking and our mental health

Most of us are aware of the physical harm that drinking alcohol in excess can do to our bodies - however, are you aware that drinking alcohol can be as equally damaging to your mental health?

In the short-term, alcohol acts as a sedative and helps you to feel more at ease and mask feelings of anxiety or depression. This is due to chemical changes and the increase of serotonin in your brain that drinking alcohol causes. However, these feelings inevitably fade as the alcohol wears off. Unfortunately, people then use alcohol to repeatedly repress the part of the brain associated with inhibition and anxiety, causing a cycle of ‘self-medication’ that can be difficult to break. In the long-term, this may lead to intensified feelings of anxiety and depression and could also lead to alcohol dependency.

If anxiety or depression is something you struggle with, you should consider cutting back on the amount of alcohol you drink, as the up/down nature of regularly drinking alcohol will very often heighten your symptoms.

If you are concerned about your own, or another person’s drinking, contact Surrey and Drug Alcohol Care on 0808 802 5000 for confidential support and advice.

Residents can also contact Surrey and Borders Partnership’s i-access service, which supports people in Surrey who are dependent on alcohol and want to stop or control their drinking. The service can be contacted by calling 0300 222 5932 (Mon-Fri) or by emailing RXX.iaccess@nhs.net. More information is available at: http://www.surreydrugandalcohol.com

 

Plenty more advice can be found below:

www.drinkaware.co.uk

www.catalystsupport.org.uk

www.surreydrugcare.org.uk