After a long, hard day, a night out or during special occasions, most of us enjoy an alcoholic beverage.  Some people drink to unwind and relax when times are hard.

The Chief Medical Officer recommends that you limit your alcohol consumption to no more than 14 units (equivalent to 6 pints of beer, 6 125ml glasses of wine or 14 shots of whiskey).

It might be difficult to determine how much is too much, as most individuals believe they can tell when they have gone too far.

But drinking isn’t about how much you drink in one session; it’s about your relationship with alcohol and how it affects your life.

The Theme of this Year’s Alcohol Awareness Week 2022

This year, Alcohol Awareness Week will take place between 18th – 25th November and is a time for raising awareness, advocating for change and an opportunity to further understand our relationship with alcohol.

Last year, the focus of Alcohol Awareness Week 2021 was around Alcohol and Relationships.

This year, the subject of Alcohol Awareness Week will be all about ‘Change’.

Why is it important to raise awareness about the impact of alcohol?

According to the NHS, there were 5,698 alcohol-related deaths in England in 2018, with 358,000 alcohol-related hospital admissions in 2018/19.

Alcohol Change has also stated, there are an estimated 602,391 alcoholics in England. This makes alcohol misuse one of the biggest risk factors for death, ill-health and disability in the UK.  In addition, lost productivity from alcohol misuse costs the UK economy more than £7 billion each year.

Alcohol Awareness Week gives us all an important opportunity to discuss the impact that alcohol can have on our lives and its impact on both our physical and mental health, allowing us to make better choices.


How Alcohol Affects our Physical and Mental Health

Alcohol is a depressant. It influences the chemicals in the brain that control inhibition. With more alcohol consumed, the initial ‘mood lift’ is often replaced with anxiety or depression.

All too often, alcohol is consumed under the misapprehension that it’ll help us to “cope” with all sorts of issues such as stress, depression and anxiety. Ironically, alcohol is one of the leading causes of depression and anxiety. Rather than alleviating symptoms, it might intensify them.

Alcohol can also lead to poor quality sleep, waking up frequently in the night, tossing and turning and taking more than 30 mins to fall back to sleep. Long stretches of bad sleep can start to affect our lives. It can cause extreme tiredness and make usually manageable tasks harder.

As well as harming your mental wellbeing, it can also affect your physical health.  Among the diseases connected to alcohol consumption include diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and liver damage.

Alcohol may also have an effect on your relationships with family and friends, as well as negatively influence your professional performance.

How to Reduce Your Alcohol Intake

If you regularly consume excessive amounts of alcohol then the first step is to admit that you have a problem.

As difficult as it may be to confess our feelings or admit that we have a problem, doing so might assist you in working towards healing.

Being aware of how much you drink and the reasons why, could help you discover more about yourself. You may then use this information to determine which type of support is best for you to help you recover.

Set achievable goals for yourself, this will help you reduce your alcohol intake for good.  Starting modestly will allow you to gradually reduce your reliance on alcohol.

If you feel stressed, experiment with other ways to help you feel more relaxed. Why not go for a walk, try some breathing exercises to unwind and most importantly, talking to someone are some simple solutions. Talking to someone about your concerns can help you to gain new insight into the situation.

You can also talk to your GP, they may be able to suggest different types of assessment and support options available to you, such as from local community alcohol services. You can also ask about any free local support groups and other alcohol counselling that may suit you.

Below are some organisations who can help if you have problems with alcohol.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

0800 9177 650

[email protected] (email helpline)

Help and support for anyone with alcohol problems.

Alcohol Change UK

Information and support options for people worried about how much alcohol they are drinking, in both English and Welsh.


0300 123 6600

Confidential advice and information about drugs, their effects and the law.

London Friend

Offers a range of services around London to support LGBT health and wellbeing including support groups and counselling.

Turning Point

Health and social care services in England for people with a learning disability. Also supports people with mental health problems, drug and alcohol abuse or unemployment.

We Are With You

Supports people with drug, alcohol or mental health problems, and their friends and family.

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