Alcohol

Illustration of wine glass and pint glass

Have you noticed that you might be drinking more? You may be bored, lonely, frustrated, stressed, anxious or angry and using more alcohol as a result.

Have you been buying more alcohol since going into self isolation and doing social distancing? Are you going through the alcohol that you have in the house much quicker than usual? Have you started drinking during the day or on days that you don’t usually drink?

The more we drink alcohol, the more it affects our chances of fighting off bacteria and viruses - this can lead to an increased risk of infection and illness.  At the moment we all need our bodies' defences to be as strong as possible, whilst Coronavirus is circulating in Wales.

Drinking can also affect how medications work – they can stop the medication from working as well.  We need your medications to work as they're supposed to, to help you, and our NHS during this crisis.

How would you benefit from cutting down your drinking? This is what other people have said:

  • Sleep better, feeling more refreshed and energised
  • Feel better and have an improved mood
  • Lose weight
  • Lower risk of accident or injury
  • Less chance of getting into fights
  • More money

If you want to know about the impact of alcohol on your health and your daily life then you can click here.

 

Alcohol Drinking Guidance

There is no safe limit of the amount of alcohol people can drink.  So we recommend that you stick within the current guidelines.  Most people in Wales that drink alcohol, do so within the guidelines. Follow these guidelines to keep yourself healthier and to protect the NHS:

  • Drink less than 14 units a week
  • Spread any drinking out over three or more days.
  • If you are pregnant, or there is a chance you could be, it is safest not to drink at all.

We understand it can be hard to measure or know how much you are drinking, or what a unit of alcohol actually looks like, especially at home. There are apps that help you track how much you are drinking, or you could keep a diary, or use an online unit calculator.

 

Thinking about your drinking

What’s your score? Try our ‘thinking about your drinking’ quiz to see how you are doing with your alcohol intake.

Can you be like most people in Wales that do drink, and do it within the guidelines?

Here are some tried and tested ways which people from across Wales have told us that helps them to cut down on their drinking

  • ‘Swapping’ their usual drink for - a smaller drink; a lower strength drink; a soft drink; or a single not double measure
  • Plan when to have alcohol free days and sticking to them
  • Delay their drinking until as late as possible in the day
  • Making sure that they have eaten before drinking
  • Not buying alcohol when going to the shop, so if it is not in the house you can’t drink it. Or stash it away somewhere and save it for a special occasion (if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind)
  • Wait until the children are in bed before having a drink
  • Setting a goal or challenge and putting away the money usually spent on alcohol
  • Cutting down on alcohol completely. How about a dry COVID challenge?

We understand that making changes is not easy, especially in these difficult and uncertain times. 

Have a think about what your own challenge will be in cutting down on your drinking, and how you will get through it.

There are agencies out there to help support you, and you can always talk to your GP or pharmacist if you are concerned about how much you are drinking and how to cut down.

 

Links to further support

DAN 24/7 

Alcohol Change UK 

Drinks Meter 

Alcoholics Anonymous 

Drink Wise Age Well 

Mind 

 

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