What are symptoms of drinking too much alcohol?
A mum who almost died from alcohol addiction has warned others of the dangers of drinking too much in lockdown, but how do you know if the alcohol you are consuming is ‘too much’?
Justine Whitchurch, a 47-year-old mum from the Gold Coast in Australia, has spoken openly about her own struggles with alcohol consumption and she has been receiving messages every day from men and women who say they are privately struggling to get their alcohol intake under control during lockdown.
‘I receive numerous messages every day from women (and men) who are privately struggling to get their alcohol intake under control,’ Justine wrote on Instagram.
‘What started as a “wind down” at the end of the day is now the only trick they have up their sleeve to cope with the basics of life. Add a pandemic to the mix and the compulsion to block it all out is real.’
But how do you know if the amount of alcohol you are consuming each week is healthy and what are symptoms of drinking too much?
What are symptoms of drinking too much?
The NHS recommends a weekly limit of 14 units of alcohol a week, which is roughly 6 pints of beer or 10 small glasses wine, and say that consuming more on a regular basis could seriously damage your health.
Lots of people have admitted to finding themselves drinking more while the UK has been in lockdown, causing doctors to issue warnings about the health consequences of excessive alcohol consumption.
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If you are drinking at high levels, you could be physically dependent on alcohol. This means your body will react negatively if you stop drinking alcohol. These reactions are alcohol withdrawal symptoms. They can be very dangerous, and even fatal. During lockdown, it might be more difficult for dependent drinkers to get the alcohol they need, meaning they could go into withdrawal. Learn more about what signs to look out for, and how to seek help, via the link in our bio. #AlcoholChange #AlcoholChangeUK #alcohol #alocholwithdrawal #symptoms #help #support #advice #health #wellbeing #charity #information #drinking #alcohol #alcoholfree #sobriety
If you’re been drinking too much, you may experience alcohol withdrawal if you stop drinking.
Withdrawl can present as sweating, nausea and shaking, and can sometimes be fatal, therefore some people may need medical assistance to stop drinking.
The NHS also points out that short-term risks of drinking too much can include:
- an increase in serious accidents and injuries
- violent behaviour
- unprotected sex
- losing important personal possessions like your phone and wallet
- alcohol poisoning
Drinking too much can also cause social problems in your life, such as unemployment, divorce and even homelessness and domestic abuse.
According to FRANK: ‘Dependence on alcohol can creep up on you.
‘Your tolerance to alcohol gradually increases the more you drink and the more often you drink, so you may find that over time you need more alcohol to get the same effect, you may seem to be getting better at holding your drink when that’s really a sign of a developing problem.
‘This problem may get more severe as you drink more and more regularly.’
To monitor if you might be drinking too much, keep track of how many units of alcohol you drink per week and make a note if you regularly exceed the 14 unit ‘low risk’ alcohol level.
The UK’s Chief Medical Officers say that to minimise the risks associated with drinking and to make healthier choices, it is best to spread any alcohol consumption over three days or more whilst also having several days where you don’t drink any alcohol at all during the week.
Alcohol Change UK also say: ‘Sticking to no more than 14 units a week isn’t a guarantee that our health won’t be negatively impacted by alcohol, and drinking above 14 units doesn’t mean you definitely will have health problems either. But, as a general rule, if we drink at low levels, then we keep the risk of harm to low levels too.’
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drinking too much or ‘excessive alcohol use’ is linked to serious, long-term health risks such as high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, liver disease, certain cancers and an overall weakened immune system, which in turn increases your risk of getting sick.
Stats from Alcohol Change UK show that 20 people die as a result of their drinking every day and alcohol related issues cost the NHS £3.5 billion every year.
Drinking too much is also associated with the development or exacerbation of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
If you think you may be suffering from symptoms linked to excessive alcohol consumption, or if you are worried about how many units you are drinking, talk to someone. Speak to your GP via a video appointment, or call Drinkline, the national alcohol helpline on 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).
Alternatively, call the Drink Aware helpline on 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am–8pm, weekends 11am–4pm) or chat to one of their trained advisors online here.
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