Want to cut down on alcohol this Christmas? Here are some tips

Fri, 21 Dec 2018
Cutting down has lots of benefits – mentally, physically, socially and financially – and when you’re trying to reduce your alcohol intake it’s important to know how to start and keep going.

Regularly drinking above the low risk limit can cause long-term health damage. Fourteen units is equivalent to six pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.

Dr Tim Allison, director of public health at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “It’s important that people know how much they are drinking and that there are easy ways they can cut back, without cutting alcohol out completely.

“Simple swaps could be made when you’re out, such as having a soft drink in between alcoholic drinks, and having at least a couple of booze-free nights each week.

“There are benefits to everyone drinking less alcohol, especially older residents who may already be at risk of falling, as having too much to drink can increase your chance of tripping and can alter your state of mind.

“As well as that, some medication shouldn’t be taken with alcohol and this is an important factor to consider before drinking.”

If you regularly drink more than 14 units a week and want to cut down this festive season, try these eight simple tips to help you both at home and during social events.

Tip #1 – Let them know

If you let your friends and family know you’re cutting down and it’s important to you, you could get support from them.

Tip #2 – Take it a day at a time

Cut back a little each day. That way, every day you do is a success.

Tip #3 – Make it a smaller one

You can still enjoy a drink, but go for smaller sizes. Try bottled beer instead of pints, or a small glass of wine instead of a large one.

Tip #4 – Have a lower-strength drink

Cut down the alcohol by swapping strong beers or wines for ones with a lower strength (ABV in %). You’ll find this information on the bottle.

Tip #5 – Make a plan

Before you start drinking, set a limit on how much you’re going to drink.

Tip #6 – Set a budget

Only take a fixed amount of money to spend on alcohol.

Tip #7 – Stay hydrated

Have a glass of water before you have alcohol and alternate alcoholic drinks with water or a soft drink.

Tip #8 – Take a break

Have several drink-free days each week.

What are the benefits of cutting down?

- You may feel better in the mornings

- You may feel less tired during the day

- Your skin may start to look better

- You may start to feel fitter

- You may stop gaining weight

Don’t end up in A&E this Christmas

Alcohol is placing a massive burden on A&E staff, as well as emergency services staff such as paramedics, fire and rescue and police staff, and sometimes poor judgement and over-drinking can result in NHS staff being victims of abusive or aggressive behaviour in the workplace.

NHS staff are working under huge amounts of pressure, especially during the Christmas period when alcohol levels are high and many patients are intoxicated.

Dr Biju Cherian, a consultant in emergency medicine and clinical lead at Hull’s Emergency Department, said: “Every year, during this season, we see increasing numbers of people coming to A&E after drinking too much, ending up hurt in drunken fights or injuring themselves after they’ve drunk too much.

“All of this places even more pressure on our staff at a time when we’re already dealing with an influx of seriously injured or seriously ill patients with winter viruses and infections.

"The public can help us by drinking in moderation and responsibly and by using alternatives to A&E like the Urgent Treatment Centres or GP Walk-In Centres closest to them if they need medical attention.

“We’re not trying to spoil anyone’s fun but people need to think very carefully before choosing to come here.

“We’re always open but it’s crucial that the hospital’s Emergency Department is here for the people who need us to save their lives.”

For more information visit https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/Tipsoncuttingdown.aspx