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Festive Drinking Awareness

Posted by Sharron Price - Health and Safety Adviser

It’s that time of year again, Christmas parties, overindulgence, we all tend to drink more this time of year if we are honest about it. A question we have all been asked by our GP’s or we ask ourselves

“How many units of alcohol do you drink a week?

How many of us know the answer to the question, or are truly honest about it – easy if you don’t drink but when you do, what would you say?

  • Tell the truth
  • Reduce the number of units you drink
  • Just take a guess

Firstly, what is an alcohol unit measurement?

We all have our favourite glass. Glasses vary in sizes, the drink itself varies in the amount of alcohol strengths within them. How many units of alcohol is in your tipple when you pour into your favourite glass?

For guidance only, the table below lists average units found in various drinks:

Remember drinking above 14 units per week may increase your chances of developing:The weekly limit of recommended units for men and women is 14 units of alcohol per week. If you choose to drink, spread your intake over 3 or more days. This allows for alcohol free days so the body can repair itself, you are not advised to binge drink i.e. saving your alcohol units to use in one day.

  • Cancer of the mouth, throat and breast
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Brain damage
  • Damage to the nervous system

Excessive alcohol has been strongly linked to depression, resulting in self-harming and even suicide.

Do you have a problem with controlling your alcohol intake, signs could include:

  • Do you have the urge to drink alcohol
  • Your homelife/ work life being affected
  • People comment on the amount you drink

If you reduce your drinking you will find several benefits such as:

  • Waking up on a morning feeling better, less tired during the day and in a better mood.
  • Sleep is affected by alcohol, you tend to fall asleep almost immediately, but the alcohol can stop you from sleeping deeply.
  • Immune system can be improved, as drinking has a knock-on effect on your body to fight infections.
  • You will likely to behave in a more rational way and less likely to be aggressive.
  • Improved memory, memory loss when drinking is a common factor when drunk.

Realising you may have a drink problem is the first step in getting help.

In England 31 men in every 100 and 16 women in every 100 drink more than 14 units per week.

In the short term, reducing or stopping drinking is the place to start, however most people will need further support. Speak to your GP or alcohol service for long term support, self-help or groups such as AA or SMART can be found in most areas.

Alcoholics Anonymous

AI-Anon family groups UK and Eire


Scottish families Affected by alcohol and drugs SFAD

These are to name but a few.

The hangover.

Splitting headache, sickness, dizziness, sluggish and dehydration are all the results of drinking too much.

To avoid the hangover in the first place:

  • Obviously, don’t drink, if you are going to drink don’t drink more that you can cope with.
  • Always make sure you have a full stomach, as the food will help slow down the absorption of alcohol.
  • Avoid darker coloured drinks, these can make a hangover feel worse.
  • Do not mix drinks, i.e. don’t start off on lager then move onto red wine
  • Drinking water or non-fizzy soft drinks between alcoholic drinks. Avoid carbonated drinks these will speed up absorption of alcohol into the system.
  • Take water to bed and sip on this should you wake up during the night.

Ok, so you ignored the above advise, so how do you treat a hangover:

  • First thing is to rehydrate your body, ideally drink water before going to bed.
  • Drink water, soda water and isotonic drinks, these are easy on the digestive system
  • For the headache and muscle cramps take painkillers.
  • Do avoid the “Hair of the dog” i.e. grabbing an alcoholic drink when you wake up, this just masks your symptoms.

After a heavy night drinking doctors advise that you wait 48 hrs before drinking to allow the body to recover.


Lastly, if you do feel you have a drinking problem seek the help and support which is out there. And for more information on Alcohol Awareness take a look at our eLearning.


Sharron Price - Health and Safety Adviser

Sharron is part of the Praxis42 advisory team in the midlands. She has a background in retail quality control / assurance, having previously worked for a large UK jewellery retailer where her involvement and passion in health and safety grew.

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