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Check out the Drinkaware unit calculator*

*DRiNKLiNK has no affiliation with Drinkaware but we found this nifty unit calculator during our research and thought some of you may find it helpful.

If after reading this you are worried you are drinking too much – or if you would like to give some advice to someone who is – we have put together 8 tips on cutting down. Click here to check it out. 

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If you regularly drink more than 14 units a week, try these simple tips to help you cut down. You may need to consult a doctor if you drink excessively.

Tip 1 – Make a plan

Before you start drinking, set a limit on how much you’re going to drink.

Tip 2 – Set a budget

Whether you are going out or buying drink for the house, only take out a fixed amount of money with you to spend.

Tip 3 – 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.

Tip 4 – Take it a day at a time

Cut back a little each day and set mini goals for yourself. The daily achievements will be a great motivator.

Tip 5 – 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.

Tip 6 – 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.

Tip 7 – 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.

Tip 8 – Take a break

Have several drink-free days each week.

Check out the Drinkaware unit calculator*

*DRiNKLiNK has no affiliation with Drinkaware but we found this nifty unit calculator during our research and thought some of you may find it helpful.

If you are unsure how to strike up a conversation of cutting down with a friend or loved one, take a look at our tips on how to strike up a conversation by clicking this link.

Let’s …

… have a social drink? … get a bit boozy? … get smashed?

Whatever you call it, the effect of alcohol on the body is the same.


How much does it take to get drunk?

Did you know your type of drunk is based more on Blood Alcohol Concentrations rather than personality type? Does this debunk the theory that your true personality shows when you are drinking?

  men_drunkwomen_drunk

Looking for tips on cutting down?

Is your drinking problematic or are you concerned about someone else’s consumption? Check out our 8 steps on cutting down here.

 

 

what_is_a_hangover

Hangover cure = myth

We are sorry to disappoint you but there are no proven cures for a hangover! Here are some preventative measures that may help you to avoid a hangover as recommended by the NHS.


During a session:

If you choose to drink:

  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink in a single session
  • Drink slowly
  • Drink with food
  • Alternate with water or non-alcoholic drinks
  • Drink lots of water before you go to bed to stay hydrated

Hair of the dog

NHS call the “hair of the dog” a risky habit. It claims more alcohol merely delays the symptoms of the hangover but may in itself cause another one.

To find out more about max unit recommendations put in place by the government, click here. 

The NHS classifies alcohol misuse under four terms:

  1. Hazardous
  2. Harmful
  3. Dependent
  4. Binge drinking

Hazardous Drinkers:

Exceeds the weekly alcohol limit of 21 units for men and 14 units for women.

This type of drinker often reports:

  • Being involved in an accident
  • Becoming involved in an argument or fight
  • Taking part in risky behaviour

Harmful Drinkers:

Exceeds the weekly alcohol limit of 21 units for men and 14 units for women.

Experience health problems directly related to alcohol misuse such as:

  • Depression
  • An alcohol-related accident, such as a head injury
  • Acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)

Many of the health problems that occur as a result of harmful drinking do not cause any symptoms until they are in the serious stages and include high blood pressure, mouth cancer, bowel cancer and heart disease.

Harmful drinking is also linked to social problems such as difficulties with your partner, family and friends or at work or college.


Dependent Drinking:

Alcohol is both physically and psychologically addictive.

On stopping drinking, this type of drinker can suffer withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Hand tremors (“the shakes”)
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not actually real)
  • Seizures (fits) in the most serious cases

Dependent drinkers have also been linked to self-harm, suicide and psychosis.


Binge Drinking:

Those consuming 8 units in a day for men and 6 units for women.

Binge drinking usually refers to drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk. Researchers define binge drinking as consuming 8 or more units in a single session for men and 6 or more for women. However, this definition does not apply to everyone because the tolerance and the speed of drinking in a session varies from person to person.

 

 

Click here for advice on how to spot the early indicators

 

 

Here are some of the myths that you asked us to bust.

Myths about alcohol and society

Alcoholics don’t contribute to society and rely on benefits.

The office of national statistics issued a report on alcohol misuse by employment. This is what they found.

As you can see, those in employment are regularly drinking more frequently and more heavily than those who are unemployed.

Only low-income households are affected by alcohol misuse.

As you can see by the table above, this isn’t strictly accurate. In terms of numbers, low income households aren’t necessarily impacted the most.

But in a way, you are correct though. A new study, published in The Lancet Public Health and led by the University of Glasgow has found that there is a marked link between socioeconomic status and the harm caused by drinking alcohol excessively.

The study found that although increased consumption was associated with harm in all groups of people, it was disproportionately harmful for the poorest in society.

Compared with light drinkers living in advantaged areas, excessive drinkers were at around a seven-fold increased risk of alcohol harm. In contrast, excessive drinkers in deprived areas experienced an eleven-fold increase.

Everyone drinks. It is a way of life.

Actually, this isn’t the case. Alcohol consumption is actually a declining trend. The percentage of adults reporting that they do not drink alcohol increased significantly from 11% in 2003 to 16% in 2013, and has settled at that level since, according to the Scottish Government.

Scotland’s relationship with alcohol is having a devastating affect on our community and families. According to a recent report by the BBC, figures show an average of 22 people a week died from alcohol-related causes in Scotland in 2015. The figure is 54% higher than in England and Wales.


Myths on treatment

The Only Way to Get Better is to Hit “Rock Bottom”

This is a dangerous myth as it gives the impression of time. There is no guarantee that your body will actually take you to rock bottom.

You can seek help at any stage in your drinking – whether it’s the first time you binge drink or you’ve been drinking habitually for 25 years. There’s no line you have to cross before it becomes “bad enough”. You can and should seek treatment the moment you feel you need help.

Also, remember that everyone’s rock bottom is different. For some, a hangover or missing work is enough to stimulate a life change. Others, may see rock bottom as homelessness, unemployment, domestic abuse … we are all different. Do what is right for you.

Rehab is the Magic Cure.

Participating in an organised treatment program can be extraordinarily beneficial for someone suffering from alcoholism. While in treatment alcoholics have the opportunity to develop healthy coping mechanisms and network with others seeking sobriety. But treatment programs aren’t a one-stop shop to fix alcoholism. Alcoholism is a chronic disease and maintaining sobriety will be a lifelong journey. Continuously tending to your recovery is a rewarding process because you will be building lifelong relationships and a gratifying life outside of alcoholism.

The best reaction to an addiction is just to remove the problem. Take alcohol from the house and take away their bank cards.

This can be potentially very dangerous. Like going on a diet, it’s always advised to talk to a doctor about how to wean yourself off alcohol.

Some people can just quit drinking alcohol cold turkey without having significant withdrawal symptoms. Other people, however, may suffer significant withdrawal symptoms when they suddenly stop drinking. Withdrawal can be fatal. A body can become dependent and go into shock if you remove the substance too quickly.

Getting Sober is Impossible.

Some people may feel like they’re too far gone in their disease to get help. This is simply NOT true. At any age or stage in your alcoholism, you can successfully seek sobriety. Once you enter treatment, or start your recovery journey, you may feel overwhelmed. That’s normal, but it’s important to remember that you have the ability to change your life and sobriety is within your reach.


Myths about life after alcohol

Sobriety is Boring.

A lot of people mistakenly assume that after they get sober, life will be boring. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the vibrancy and support that can be found in the recovery community is unlike any other. Clearing your mind of the fog of your addiction opens it up to so much more. Now is the time to discover or regain beloved hobbies and restore meaningful relationships. Most people who are seeking sobriety report that they have renewed appreciation for life and making the most of their time.

 

What myths would you like us to tackle? Email info@drinklink.org or visit us on Facebook and we will do our best to confirm if this is a myth or a fact.

 

The NHS estimates that just under 1 in 10 (8.7%) men in the UK and 1 in 20 (3.3%) UK women show signs of alcohol dependence (sometimes known as “alcoholism”).

Being dependent on alcohol means you feel you’re not able to function without it, that drinking becomes an important, or sometimes the most important factor in your life.

Why do people become Alcohol Dependent?

Genetics plays its part, but it is also influenced by the environment that you have grown up in.

“We know from studies of twins raised apart and those raised together that 60% of your tendency to become alcohol dependent is inherited.” According to Dr Nick Sheron, a liver disease specialist from Southampton University. “The rest is due to free will and environmental effects. If you come from a line of alcoholics, your likelihood of becoming an alcoholic is much increased.”


Signs of Dependence:

  • Worrying about where your next drink is coming from and planning social, family and work events around alcohol.
  • Finding you have a compulsive need to drink and find it hard to stop once you start.
  • Waking up and drinking – or feeling the need to have a drink in the morning.
  • Feelings of anxiety, alcohol-related depression and suicidal feelings – these can develop because regular, heavy drinking interferes with neurotransmitters in our brains that are needed for good mental health.
  • Suffering from physical withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, shaking and nausea, which stop once you drink alcohol.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms:

It’s advised for anyone dependent on alcohol looking to stop drinking, first consult a doctor. Withdrawal symptoms can be potentially fatal.

Physical alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Hand tremors (‘the shakes’)
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Visual Hallucinations (seeing things that are not actually real)
  • Seizures (fits) in the most serious cases

Psychological alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia (difficulty sleeping)

Would you like to cut down your drinking or advise someone else on reducing their intake? Check out our 8 tips on cutting down by clicking here.

 

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