Advice for When You Have a Drink
Written by: System Administration
Posted: 16/03/2009 11:03:32
Nobody's saying that we should all cut out drinking, but it is important to have the facts about how alcohol can affect your health, relationships and career. So then you'll be able to decide how much you want to drink.
When you're drinking at home you can get a false sense of security. You still need to think about your units - and consider the following:
- Don't mix alcohol with any kind of medication as it can reduce the drug's effects and be harmful
- Don't mix alcohol with recreational drugs, especially stimulants (such as ecstasy or cocaine)
- If you are drinking wine, try using a smaller glass: a small glass of wine (ABV 12%) is about 1.5 units but a large glass of stronger wine can contain three units or more;
- It may be best not to drink if you have mental health problems like depression - it could make these worse
How your units build up
"First drink of the evening: I always have a glass of white wine..."
Tip: Have something to eat before your first drink.
"My other half's home - time to top up my wine glass too!"
Tip: Replace your second drink with a soft drink.
"Normally I'll wash down my dinner with a beer or two."
Tip: Make it a half pint.
"If there's still some wine left in the bottle, I'll usually polish it off."
Tip: A bottle of wine may contain more than 10 units. If you finish it off you'll exceed the limit for healthy drinking.
"...time for a nightcap. I fancy a shot of whisky."
Tip: A soft or hot drink is a much healthier choice.
The NHS recommends that:
Women should not regularly drink more than two to three units of alcohol per day.
You should also take a break for 48 hours after a heavy session to let your body recover.
Pregnant women or women trying to conceive should avoid drinking alcohol. If they do choose to drink, to protect the baby, they should not drink more than 1-2 units of alcohol once or twice a week and should not get drunk.
If you're getting ready for a big night, we've put together some tips worth remembering before you start a drinking session. They could stop you getting a nasty hangover - or even save your life.
Make it easy on yourself
- Eat before you go out, or early in the evening, to reduce the effects of your drinking
- Remember, it's not about saving up your units for the week and cramming them all into one evening
- Drink water regularly during the evening and before you go to bed
- Take a break if you think the drink is hitting you too quickly
- Pace yourself with soft drinks - a tonic looks the same with or without vodka
- Don't try to keep up with friends who drink more than you - that's their choice
- Don't mix alcohol with drugs of any kind, but especially ecstasy or cocaine: it can be deadly
- If you're on medication, ask your doctor if it's safe to drink
- After a session of heavy drinking take a break for 48 hours to let your body recover
Dangers to be aware of
The more you drink, the more at risk you are of becoming involved in a fight or unsafe sex, or being targeted by criminals.
You might not be out of control but you can't control how other people behave when they're drunk. Half of all violent crimes are alcohol-related - and young men are particularly vulnerable to violent attacks by others who've been drinking.
Can you be sure you'll use a condom? Unsafe sex can lead to unintended pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia, herpes or gonorrhoea.
Plan how you're going to get home before you set off. If you're drunk you're more likely to decide to get an unlicensed minicab or walk home alone and if you're a woman, situations like these can put you at risk of sexual assault.
Both women and men could have their drinks spiked. Keep your drink with you. Agree with your friends to watch out for each other and to support each other if one of you suddenly seems unusually drunk or is acting strangely. Drinks can be spiked with more alcohol too.
If you're so drunk that you're dizzy or falling over, you could do yourself a serious injury. Most common of all is people falling over and breaking limbs, but at the other end of the spectrum, a very serious fall could have bigger consequences.
If a friend loses consciousness after drinking:
- Call 999 and ask for an ambulance
- Lie them on their side with their top leg bent towards their chest (recovery position)
- Make sure they're breathing and their mouth and airways are clear
- Keep them warm (but not hot) with blankets or a coat
If someone vomits:
- Try to keep them sitting up
- If they must lie down, make sure they're in the recovery position
- If they begin to choke, call 999 and ask for an ambulance
- At the start of an evening, plan how you'll get home - take phone numbers for taxis and keep enough money to pay for the journey home or agree who will drive and not drink
- Don't accept drinks from strangers
- Don't leave your drink unattended
- Don't get into an unlicensed cab or a stranger's car - for women especially there's an increased risk of sexual assault
- Don't get into a car with a driver who you know has been drinking or taking drugs
- Don't leave your friends to go off with someone you don't know
- Avoid walking home on your own or through dark or unsafe areas if you've been drinking
- Avoid aggressive drinkers - just walk away if someone seems to be getting too rowdy
- Carry a condom - if you have sex, make sure it's safe
Did you know...?
- Darker drinks give you worse hangovers - there are chemicals in their dark colourings called congeners. Mostly found in red wine, brandy and whisky, congeners irritate blood vessels and tissue in the brain.
- Drinking water before you go to bed will help reduce your level of dehydration (which might mean less of a hangover), but it won't make you any less drunk, or protect your liver from the damaging effect of alcohol.
- Four or five single vodkas in one evening might make you feel happy and uninhibited - but it will also push you over your daily limit and could harm your health if you drink regularly at these levels.
- The cost of alcohol-related crime is estimated to be as much as £7.3 billion per year. 1.2 million violent incidents (around half of all violent crimes) and 360,000 incidents of domestic violence being linked to alcohol.
- If you are driving with the legal limit for alcohol in your blood, you are more than twice as likely to have an accident than if you had not been drinking. The risk is up to five times greater if you're a less experienced driver.
Source : NHS www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/Alcoholhome.aspx
Last Updated on: 06/01/2011 16:28:41