Take time to look after your body and mind

People, Health and Care
11:51, Friday, 23rd December 2022

With the festive season fast approaching it can be easy to consume more alcohol than intended, either whilst at home celebrating with others or when out socialising.

This year North Lincolnshire Council want to raise awareness of the impact alcohol can have on people’s mental health, wellbeing and relationships with family, friends, and others within the community.

For many people at this time of year, alcohol forms an integral social aspect of our relationships with friends, family, or partners. This can lead to people feeling pressured to drink alcohol or put pressure on themselves to consume alcohol when socialising. When this happens, it can stop people taking action to improve their drinking habits.

People drink alcohol for a variety of reasons, including: to relax, socialise, relieve boredom, ease feelings of loneliness, or to try and cope with or avoid problems.

However, drinking large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis can cause or make an individual’s physical health worse and negatively impact someone’s mental health and wellbeing.

Alcohol is strongly linked with mental health problems like anxiety and depression, but the relationship between alcohol and mental health is extremely complex.

Some may use alcohol to try and help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, although alcohol can initially provide a short-term feelings of elation, excessive or regular alcohol consumption is more likely to make those symptoms worse and be harmful to both a person’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Alcohol can also affect relationships and friendships. It can heighten family tensions, get in the way of clear communication, and mean people are less present for each other; particularly when parents are drinking whilst in the care of children.

There is a real risk of someone’s drinking causing conflict, with alcohol being a factor in many cases of domestic abuse and it can also impact on personal vulnerability and safety.

Managing drinking habits and getting the right support are crucial to someone’s health and wellbeing.

People can take stock of their drinking habits and look after their health by understanding the strength of alcohol and its units.

The Chief Medical Officer’s ‘low risk,’ alcohol drinking guidelines advise that it is safer (for both men and women) to drink no more than 14 units a week, spread over three or more days, to include several drink-free days and avoiding ‘binge drinking,’ (drinking over 8 units in a single session for men, over 6 units in a single session for women).

Advice and support

The following organisations can offer support to those with alcohol and substance misuse.

We Are With You is local organisation that offers confidential support to both the individual and people who are worried about someone else’s alcohol or drug use. Visit their website or call 08081 430640.

Alcohol Change offers information about alcohol consumption and ways to make healthy changes. Visit their website and take the ‘Check your drinking’ quiz or download the free ‘Try Dry’ app which tracks an individual’s progress from cutting down on drinking or being totally alcohol-free.

Find information about the benefits of cutting down on alcohol and calculate alcohol units on the Better Health website.