How to give up alcohol? This sounds like a relatively simple question, but one must consider that alcohol is a legal substance sold in supermarkets, off-licences, corner shops, pubs and clubs around the UK. It is socially acceptable for adults to consume alcohol at family gatherings, parties, anniversaries and when having a meal. Many people drink alcohol when they are watching sport on television or when they are enjoying a barbeque in the warm summer sunshine. It is, therefore, easy to forget that alcohol is a toxic substance that is highly addictive and one that can cause a host of mental and physical health problems.
The NHS has estimated that around nine per cent of men in the UK and three per cent of women have problems with alcohol. Alcohol is responsible for many illness and deaths each year, and because of this, health experts are warning the public about the dangers of excessive consumption of alcohol.
It may be easy to say that people should simply stop drinking, but for those who have become physically dependent on alcohol, it is not so simple. While many worry about how to give up alcohol, others do not even realise they have a problem.
The UK Government ordered a review of the recommended alcohol guidelines in 2015, and the findings were published in early 2016. It found that the existing weekly guideline for men was too high, and so it was subsequently reduced from twenty-one units per week to fourteen. This meant that the weekly recommended guidelines for both men and women were the same.
Other recommendations were that people should spread their weekly allowance over a number of days and ensure that they have some alcohol-free days each week. There was also a warning that, in terms of preventing a number of alcohol-related illnesses, there is no safe level of consumption. This may have prompted some people to wonder about how to give up alcohol, but reports have shown that many men continue to drink well above the old weekly limit of twenty-one units per week, prompting concerns about their health.
Most people do not drink enough alcohol to get drunk, but some individuals drink specifically to get intoxicated. They will drink their full week’s allowance in one session, which is dangerous to their mental and physical health. This is known as binge drinking.
Alcohol affects almost every cell in the body, and those who regularly drink above the recommended guidelines are putting their health at risk. The more alcohol a person consumes, the greater their tolerance will be, and it will take longer for them to feel the effects of alcohol. However, even small amounts of alcohol have an effect on the body.
After just one to two units of alcohol, the heart begins to speed up, and the individual may feel more talkative and sociable. The nervous system and the brain are affected after the person has consumed four to six units, which can affect his or her ability to make sound judgements. Those who have consumed this amount of alcohol will be more likely to take unnecessary risks. Their coordination may also be affected, and they could feel dizzy.
Once eight to nine units have been consumed, an individual’s reaction times will slow down. They might begin to slur when they talk, and they lose their ability to focus on what is in front of them. This amount of alcohol is more than the liver can process while you are asleep, which is why many people who have drunk this amount of alcohol will wake up feeling the effects of a bad hangover.
Consuming ten to twelve units of alcohol in one session will likely mean the individual is severely intoxicated and is at risk of accidents and injuries. The mind and body are affected, and it could lead the person to experience unpleasant side effects such as dizziness, nausea and vomiting. It is very likely that the individual will be ill when he or she wakes the following morning. Severe dehydration could cause a bad headache.
Drinking more than twelve units in one session is very dangerous and could lead to alcohol poisoning or even death. With that much alcohol in the system, the affected person’s body will slow down, and he or she could suffer from slowed breathing and a slow heart rate. Those who vomit after consuming this amount of alcohol are at risk of choking as their gag reflex can be affected. It is not uncommon for those who have downed large volumes of alcohol to pass out and then choke on their vomit while they are unconscious.
There are many benefits to giving up alcohol, even for a short period of time. Those who are not physically dependent on alcohol will find it easier to quit than others, but even those with an addiction to this toxic substance can stop drinking for good with the right help and support.
If you are wondering how to give up alcohol, contact our helpline today. We have experienced counsellors and therapists ready to assist and provide you with the information you need to stop drinking once and for all.
If you are worried about the damage that alcohol is doing to your health, let us help you now. We can provide you with a free assessment and referral should you need it. If you are a regular binge drinker but do not feel that you have an alcohol addiction, we can still provide you with information on how to give up alcohol.
It is important to remember that you do not need to drink alcohol in order to have fun. Many people these days socialise without alcohol, and that much is evident in the popularity of the many ‘dry bars’ popping up around the country. As well as improving your health, you will have more energy, you will sleep better, and you will have more money in your pocket if you quit drinking today.