Alcohol – its impact on you: Alcohol Awareness Week 2018

Monday, 18 June 2018 – Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement
Alcohol – its impact on you: Alcohol Awareness Week 2018

During Alcohol Awareness Week (18-24 June) the Public Health Agency (PHA) and Northern Ireland’s Drug and Alcohol Coordination Teams (NIDACTs) are highlighting the impact alcohol can have on people who drink too much and those around them.

The week will feature a range of messages on the dangers of mixing alcohol with drugs, the benefits of taking a quick alcohol MOT and highlighting information and support services available for those who need help for their drinking or for someone they know.

Kelly Gilliland, Health Improvement Manager at the PHA, said: “Many of us enjoy a drink when at home or out with friends, but we need to be aware of the affect that alcohol can have on us and those around us.

“We need to be careful how we use it. Drinking too much can seriously affect our health and a good starting point is to look at how much you do drink. Our website www.drugsandalcoholni.info has an interactive alcohol MOT where you can check how many units you drink and its possible impact.

“The recommendation is that both men and women drink no more than 14 units per week. If you do drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over three days or more. You can't ‘save up’ your units for a particular day or a party.

“During Alcohol Awareness Week, through our social media channels, we’ll also be showing the impact that excessive drinking can have on those around you.

“Many people might use alcohol to relax, but, instead of helping us to cope, excess amounts can have an immediate negative impact on our lives.

“In the short term, the undesirable effects of drinking too much can include vomiting and hangovers. Other, more serious risks from drinking heavily can include falls or accidents that can result in injury.

“Drinking too much can also affect our judgement, leading us to do things we wouldn’t otherwise do and that we might regret later. These can include unplanned sexual activity, fighting, or spoiling events for you, your family and friends.

“It is therefore important that people start to understand their drinking behaviour and explore their relationship with alcohol.

“Small changes can make a big difference.”

Alcohol Awareness Week top tips:

  • Understand how much you’re drinking by taking the alcohol MOT – www.drugsandalcoholni.info/mot/
  • learn how many units are in your chosen drink – visit www.drugsandalcoholni.info or download the ‘Know Your Units’ app
  • always look after yourself and know what your limits are;
  • have something to eat before you start drinking to slow down the absorption of alcohol;
  • alternate each alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink, for example, water or a soft drink;
  • take frequent five minute breaks from drinking to give your body time to recover;
  • avoid drinking in rounds or having a kitty as this may result in you drinking more;
  • keep track of your drinks and don’t let anyone top up your drink until it’s finished; 
  • if a friend does drink too much, don't leave them alone or let them wander off, rather, encourage them to rehydrate with non-alcoholic drinks; and
  • never add drugs into the mix.

Visit the PHA and NIDACTS social media pages more tips and advice during Alcohol Awareness week: