Alcohol

Alcohol:

We all lead stressful lives and cope with the stress in different ways. Some people use alcohol to destress. The danger arises when drinking alcohol becomes an essential part of the evening and is being relied upon to help cope with life. In Roundhay we don't see many patients guzzling 3 litre bottles of White Lightening. We do however see lots of patients who drink a bottle of good quality claret each day and assume that because they aren't falling out of pubs drunk this is an acceptable level of consumption. In reality alcohol is alcohol and both patterns of drinking are harmful. 

Recommended safe alcohol consumption levels:

Men - <21 units per week. Not more than 4 units each time and at least 2 alcohol free days per week.

Women - <14units per week. Not more than 3 units per day and at least 2 alcohol free days per week.

If pregnant, to minimse the risk of harming the baby, women should drink a maximum 1-2 units of alcohol per week.

This allows the liver to recover between drinking sessions

Examples of a unit of alcohol would be:

Half a pint of 3-4% lager, bitter or cider

A single 25ml measure of 40% alcohol spirits

A bottle of 12% wine would typically contain 9 units of alcohol. Those with 14-15% alcohol content contain more.

Therefore to be within safe limits men should drink no more than 2 bottles of wine per week and women no more than 1.5 bottles.

Health risks of persistent alcohol excess:

Depression, Hepatitis (liver inflammation). Cirrhosis (scarred liver), Cancer (mouth, oesophagus, bladder), pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation), high blood pressure, impotence and others.

How to know you're drinking too much:

  • Need a drink every day
  • Drink alone often
  • Drink to stop shaking
  • Drink early in the day
  • Neglect other interests so you can drink
  • Other people are telling you you're drinking too much

If you think you need help:

  • Come and speak with your GP or Practice Nurse
  • Gradually reduce the amount you drink
  • Self refer to Leeds Addiction Unit 0113 295 1300

Internet resources:

http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Alcohol-and-Sensible-Drinking.htm

www.drinkaware.co.uk

www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk

Additional information