Alcohol Awareness Week
Alcohol Awareness Week takes place from 16th-22nd November, providing an opportunity for us to think about our drinking.
How often do we stop to think about how much we drink, why we drink, and what effect it can have on our health and mental wellbeing?
With lockdown measures affecting how, when and where we socialise – and with many of us staying at home for longer periods of time – how might that have affected our personal drinking habits and our relationship with alcohol?
Alcohol is something many of us reach for when we’re feeling stressed, anxious or worried. While alcohol may initially help us to relax – the effects are short-lived. In the long run - and if misused - it can make stress harder to deal with, and even contribute to feelings of depression and
anxiety. According to alcoholchange.org.uk drinking too much, “can mask or enhance underlying mental health problems…and prevent them from being properly addressed.”
Becoming more informed about the effects of alcohol on our physical health and mental wellbeing can help us to make informed choices about our drinking.
Here are just a few of the many resources available:
Alcohol and mental health:
Alcohol and physical health:
How much is too much?
How do we know if we’re drinking too much, and in a way that may impact our health?
The Department of Health has set out guidelines to help us keep health risks from alcohol to a low level:
NI/UK: For both men and women, no more than 14 units a week on a regular basis and best to spread drinking evenly over 3 or more days.
ROI: 11 standard drinks spread out over the week for women, and 17 standard drinks for men with at least two alcohol-free days – drinking no more than 6 standard drinks on any one occasion.
How much are we drinking?
Knowing how much alcohol is in our drinks can help us keep track of how much we’re drinking. It’s important to remember that one unit of alcohol is not the same as one drink - alcoholic drinks come in many different strengths and sizes. A quick strength check is to look at the %ABV (alcohol by volume) on the side of a bottle or can - the higher the percentage, the stronger the drink.
The PHA have issued this quick guide to alcohol units:
And further alcohol unit advice from the NHS:
In Ireland, a standard drink as a measure of alcohol is roughly the equivalent to a small glass of wine, half pint of normal beer, or pub measure of spirits (with one standard drink containing 10gms of alcohol).
For more on Irish standard drink and unit measurements: www.drinkaware.ie/facts/what-is-a-standard-drink
Is it time for a change?
Many of us drink - and for many different reasons.
Stepping back and having an objective look at our drinking may help us to identify whether the amount we drink could be putting us at risk.
The Inspire Support Hub provides a tailored online alcohol self-help course that helps us to view our drinking habits and identify whether we may be at risk, with information allowing us to make informed decisions for setting goals and taking positive next steps.
Visit: www.inspiresupporthub.org and sign in. From your personalised dashboard, click ‘Online self-help’ and select ‘alcohol’ from the range of courses available.
If you haven’t yet signed up to the Hub, ask your HR or wellbeing team for your company/organisation PIN; or contact us at: email@example.com
Ways to cut down
If on reflection, you feel moderating or cutting down on your drinking would be of benefit – here are a few quick suggestions to help you stay within your limits:
If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s drinking, you can get information and advice by contacting your GP.
You can find more information by visiting:
Addiction NI: www.addictionni.com / Tel. 028 90 664434
Information sourced from INSPIRE Workplaces and attached in printable document below:
Inspire Workplaces is an operating name of Carecall (NI) Limited Company No: NI038960 / VAT Registration No: 179 1484 72. Registered office: Lombard House, 10-20 Lombar Street, Belfast, BT1 1RD
Inspire Workplaces (585563) is a business name of EAP Consultants Limited. Registration No: 372660 / VAT Registration No: 6392660N. Registered office: 1 Parkway House, Western Parkway Business Park, Ballymount, Dublin 12