According to Alcohol Change UK, 24% of adults in England and Scotland regularly drink over the Chief Medical Officer’s low-risk guidelines.
Alcohol awareness week returns this year from the 15th - 19th November with a new theme: Alcohol and Relationships. The week provides an opportunity to reflect on the impact that drinking may be having on us and our loved ones.
Drinking too much alcohol has been linked with mental health problems. According to Drink Aware, ‘regular, heavy drinking interferes with chemicals in the brain that are vital for good mental health’. Although alcohol can make us feel good in the short term, the long term effects can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression by altering a person’s brain chemistry. There is also a strong association between drinking heavily and self-harm, suicidal thoughts and death from suicide.
In addition to the impact drinking heavily can have on our own mental health, it can also affect our relationships. According to Alcohol Change, the psychoactive properties of alcohol can radically alter the way we think and feel, impacting relationships with loved ones.
Furthermore, the quality of our relationships can impact how much we drink - for example, an unhappy relationship or a bereavement may cause you to resort to alcohol to help you feel better. If you are drinking due to stress in your life and relationships, having a drink may make you feel more at ease, but increased drinking will lead to a higher tolerance, meaning you need to drink more each time, leading to a greater reliance on alcohol to improve your mood.
If you are worried about your drinking and would like to cut it down, consider replacing a drink with something else that will help to boost your mood. You can read more information about finding a #newhappyhour on the NHS APA website.
Want to get involved?
Whether you are an individual, a group or organisation, there are many ways you can support the campaign:
Have your say and join in on online conversations using the hashtag #AlcoholAwarenesWeek.
Download the Try Dry app and have a go at cutting down or going alcohol-free.
Take this quick quiz to test your knowledge of alcohol.
Consider running an alcohol awareness campaign in your workplace.
Want to seek help?
If you think you or a loved one might be experiencing alcohol-related issues, the Alcohol Change website has helpful resources and advice on getting help, or visit the NHS website for alcohol support.