Published: 13 November 2020
This week marks the 8th Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm. #AWARH20 The Week provides an opportunity to get people talking and thinking about their relationship with alcohol during this exceptional year when life and health matter more than ever to everyone all over the world.
Working in the health services at this time can be extremely stressful and alcohol can appeal as a temporary release to alter mood. Some people may find that their reasons for drinking have changed over the months from a social occasion to needing to drink to alleviate stress or boredom.
For others, having an alcoholic drink is one of life’s pleasures. For most that’s not a problem, but some people develop and have a troubled relationship with alcohol.
This can be prevented if we remember three things about our alcohol intake:
Watch your habit of drinking by asking these three questions:
- Have you become a more frequent drinker?
- Starting to drink earlier in the evening or finishing later?
- Drinking more than usual and more than HSE low-risk drinking guidelines?
Some reasons you might like to cut back on your alcohol intake now:
- You may reach for alcohol in times of stress or worry, but alcohol has a negative impact on mental health and can make stressful times feel even worse
- When you drink too much, you may be less aware of following social distancing and hygiene advice
- Alcohol negatively affects the quality of sleep, making it even harder to cope in stressful times
- Alcohol can make your immune system less effective, impacting its ability to fight off viruses
- Taking a break or cutting down on alcohol has many health benefits
- Problem drinking can cause mental health symptoms such as anxiety, depression, concentration problems, and personality changes which can all have negative effects on people you live with
Check out the drinks calculator and the Self-Assessment Tool and the self-help strategies on www.AskAboutAlcohol.ie.
Tips to help you drink less
- Don’t stockpile. We’re more likely to reach for a drink more often if it’s available to us.
- Work out ways to relax and treat yourself that don’t involve alcohol like reading, family board games or exercise.
- Develop and maintain a familiar routine that involves regular sleep, mealtimes and exercise.
- If you drink, stick to the low-risk weekly drinking guidelines.
- Set rules around your drinking that will help such as not drinking before 10 pm, not drinking on weekdays or not drinking in front of children.
Look after your general mental health. Visit www.yourmentalhealth.ie for tips on how to mind your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
If you find that you are continuing to drink in spite of problems or you are experiencing distress/anxiety due to another person’s drinking you should contact: HSE Drug and Alcohol Helpline 1800 459 459 Mon-Fri 9.30-5.30pm for confidential help and support services or find alcohol support and treatment services near you