During the COVID-19 pandemic, some of us may have developed unhealthy habits. Increased alcohol consumption, unhealthy snacking and doing less exercise may all have been ways of seeking comfort.
Are you misusing alcohol?
Alcohol misuse is when you drink in a way that’s harmful or when you are dependent on alcohol. Regularly drinking alcohol in excess of recommended quantities can cause serious harm to your health.
You could be misusing alcohol if:
- You feel you should cut down on your drinking
- Other people have been criticising your drinking
- You feel guilty or bad about your drinking
- You need a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover.
Want to check your drinking?
Drinkaware have developed an alcohol self-assessment tool. It can help you identify if the amount you drink could be putting your health at serious risk. The tool called AUDIT is developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is used internationally by medical professionals to check for alcohol harm, including dependence.
If you have found that your alcohol intake has increased, there are resources and support networks that you can access to address this.
if you are concerned about your alcohol intake, please talk to your manager to gain support from them and look at what is available to you.
One simple way to cut down is to have at least a few drink-free days every week, so choose yours and get practical support to stick with it. The Drink Free Days app can help you stay on track
Turning Point is the integrated substance misuse service for the city, Leicestershire and Rutland county and Leicester prison, offering various treatment options for anyone affected by drugs or alcohol looking for support.
Dear Albert is a Leicester based charity delivering targeted support, combining innovative approaches with evidence based initiatives. You can call their helpline on 0800 880 3153 or text 07724 284 730.
Concerned about your drinking or someone else’s?
Call Drinkline on 0300 1231110 for free, confidential advice.
National support lines and organisations
There are a number of charities and support groups across the UK that provide support and advice for people with an alcohol misuse problem.
Drinkline is the national alcohol helpline. If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s drinking, you can call this free helpline in complete confidence. Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a free selfhelp group. Its “12 step” programme involves getting sober with the help of regular support groups.
Al-Anon Family Groups offers support and understanding to the families and friends of problem drinkers, whether they’re still drinking or not. Alateen is part of Al-Anon and can be attended by 12- to 17-year-olds who are affected by another person’s drinking, usually a parent.
We Are With You is a UK-wide treatment agency that helps individuals, families and communities manage the effects of drug and alcohol misuse.
Adfam is a national charity working with families affected by drugs and alcohol, operating an online message board and a database of local support groups.
The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa) provides a free, confidential telephone and email helpline for children of alcohol-dependent parents and others concerned about their welfare. Call 0800 358 3456 for the Nacoa helpline.
SMART Recovery groups help people decide whether they have a problem, build up their motivation to change, and offer a set of proven tools and techniques to support recovery
Healthy drinking guidlines
Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week on a regular basis. One unit equals 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol, which is around the amount of alcohol the average adult can process in an hour.
The number of units in a drink is based on the size of the drink, as well as its alcohol strength. For example, a pint of strong lager contains 3 units of alcohol, whereas the same volume of low-strength lager has just over 2 units. 14 units is equivalent to 6 pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.
Knowing your units will help you stay in control of your drinking.
To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level if you drink most weeks:
- men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis
- spread your drinking over 3 or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week
- if you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week
- If you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant, the safest approach is to not drink alcohol at all to keep risks to your baby to a minimum
Find out more
- Support for managers
- Alcohol and You – an NHS self help guide (PDF, 2MB)
- Alcohol statistics – the latest facts and figures about UK consumption at Alcohol Change UK
- Alchohol in the workplace factsheet (PDF, 44KB)
- Drinkaware at Work e-learning course – a fun, interactive, and engaging programme for employees of any sized organisation.