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Alcohol Awareness Week: Promoting Health and Responsibility

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

Employee wellbeing training to cope with addiction
Alcohol Awareness

It's Alcohol Awareness Week. This year's campaign runs from 3rd - 9th July on the theme of Alcohol and cost. Alcohol Awareness Week is managed and hosted by Alcohol Change UK

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Alcohol Awareness Week is an annual event that aims to shed light on the impact of alcohol on individuals, families, and communities, while encouraging responsible consumption and supporting those who may be struggling with alcohol-related issues. In this blog, we will explore the significance of Alcohol Awareness Week, its objectives, and why it is crucial to foster a culture of responsible drinking.

Alcohol Awareness Week is a dedicated time to educate and inform the public about the risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption. The week-long campaign seeks to promote responsible drinking habits, reduce alcohol-related harm, and provide support to individuals who may be facing alcohol-related challenges.

Alcohol Awareness Week aims to:

  • Educate and Inform: Alcohol Awareness Week serves as a platform to disseminate accurate and up-to-date information about alcohol consumption, its impact on physical and mental health, and the associated risks. It aims to increase knowledge and awareness among individuals of all ages.

  • Challenge Stigmas: The campaign endeavors to challenge stigmas surrounding alcohol-related issues, such as addiction and alcoholism. By fostering open conversations and reducing the shame associated with seeking help, Alcohol Awareness Week strives to create an environment that supports individuals in addressing their alcohol-related concerns.

  • Encourage Responsible Drinking: Responsible drinking is a key focus of Alcohol Awareness Week. It emphasises the importance of moderation, informed decision-making, and understanding one's personal limits. By promoting responsible drinking behaviors, the campaign aims to reduce alcohol-related accidents, violence, and health problems.

  • Support those in need: Alcohol Awareness Week provides an opportunity to highlight the support services available for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction or its consequences. It directs individuals towards resources such as helplines, counseling centers, and treatment facilities, facilitating access to assistance and recovery programs.

Alcohol and mental health

Alcohol has been described as 'The UK’s favourite coping mechanism’, and many of us do drink to try and help manage stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health problems.

This is sometimes called ‘self-medicating’ with alcohol. Unfortunately, although alcohol can help us feel relaxed initially and give us a brief feeling of euphoria, the effects are short-lived and the long-term negative consequences of drinking a lot over a long period of time can be quite harmful:

  • Overuse of alcohol can contribute to the worsening of symptoms of many mental health problems. In particular, it can lead to low mood and anxiety

  • As the immediate feeling of calm after drinking fades over time, you may feel worse than before

  • Post-drinking hangovers can be particularly difficult, with the usual headache and nausea being accompanied by feelings of depression and/or anxiety

  • Using alcohol in this way can mean that the underlying mental health problems aren’t addressed

If you come to rely on alcohol to manage your mental health problems, that reliance can itself become a problem. You may well find that your drinking starts to get in the way of other activities and puts a strain on your relationships – both things that can undermine your mental wellbeing.

If you struggle with depression and anxiety, or other mental health problems, but would like to drink, the best advice is to stick within the Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines by not having more than 14 units of alcohol per week. That means about six pints of lager, or six standard glasses of wine, spread out over three or more days and with a few days off.

Some people find that it’s best for them to stop drinking, in order to improve their symptoms. Only you will know what works best for you, but you may wish to discuss it with your doctor or with someone at your local alcohol service. Use the NHS services directories to find an alcohol support service near you, or speak to your GP.

If you are feeling anxious, low or experiencing any other symptoms of mental health problems, you deserve support.

Alcohol Awareness Week serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of responsible drinking and the impact of alcohol on individuals, families, and communities. By promoting awareness, education, and support, we can work towards reducing alcohol-related harm and fostering a culture of moderation and responsibility. So, let's raise our glasses in commitment to promoting health, wellbeing, and understanding during Alcohol Awareness Week and beyond. Cheers to a healthier and more informed future by Enhancing Minds about the risks of alcohol consumption and how to cope without relying on alcohol.

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