Alcohol awareness week 2019 is an opportunity for all to start thinking about their drinking habits.
The theme for this year is "alcohol and me", aiming to shed some light and clarity on the effects alcohol can have on both your physical and mental health.
The Recommended Units Per Week.
The recommended alcohol units per week is advised to be no more than 14 units for both men and woman.
Research also shows that alcohol should not be consumed on more than 3 days in a row and that routine alcohol-free days should be a regular occurrence.
14 units of alcohol is equivalent to 6 pints of beer and 7 glasses of wine.
Alcohol and Mental Health.
As well as physically damaging the brain, there is also a direct link between alcohol consumption and mental health.
The regular consumption of alcohol and 'binge drinking', can lead to bouts of depression and increased general anxiety, alongside worsening the symptoms of any other pre-existing mental health issues.
Some people turn to alcohol as a way to resolve or cover up their troubles, but using alcohol as an escape will only make things worse and mask underlying problems.
Reliance on alcohol to suppress mental health issues is a major contributor to alcoholism and other significant health concerns.
Alcohol and Weight Gain.
The amount of calories in alcohol is often underestimated, with around 225 kcal in a large glass of wine and 222 kcal in a pint of beer; it is easy to see how easily alcohol consumption can lead to weight gain.
The best way to avoid weight gain from alcohol is to reduce consumption altogether. There are plenty of low alcohol alternatives that contain fewer calories, and committing to alcohol-free periods here and there is an excellent way to keep the body weight in check.
Reducing Alcohol Cravings.
Like anything that people enjoy, alcohol can produce cravings. Whether it's a glass of red after work or a cold pint on a hot summer day, an alcoholic beverage can sometimes feel like a must-have.
The best way to reduce cravings is to first acknowledge them, remind yourself why you are not drinking that day, week, month or indefinitely – and focusing that energy into something else, be it exercise, cooking a hobby; anything the redirects the thoughts.
Another great way to break cravings is to break the routine. If you have an alcoholic beverage at the same time on any given day, trying changing it up or skipping it altogether.
Cravings for alcohol are common, but if you find that you are not able to withhold from your urges, it might be time to speak to someone.
A Note to Leave With.
Whilst perfectly okay in moderation, the consumption of alcohol and drinking more than the advised 14 units per week can have a serious effect on physical and mental health.
We could all benefit from drinking less per week and alcohol awareness week 2019 is a fantastic opportunity to have a much needed 7 days of sobriety.
Drink safely, responsibly and help to bring the dangers of overconsumption to light.