It’s not too late to make a sobering resolution

If you’re still looking for a New Year’s resolution that will make a big impact on your health and well-being – try cutting back on alcohol.
Paul Hooper who manages the Warwickshire Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) said: “It’s a good idea to regularly assess your health and a great time to review drinking habits particularly if you’re trying to get back on track after festive excesses.
“A Drinkaware survey has found that 6.7 million people will set a pledge to drink less in the New Year, with over four million adults intending to give up completely during January. So you certainly won’t be alone if you make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink in 2012.”
To give people a bit more of an incentive, the DAAT are stressing some of the health and financial benefits of abstaining from alcohol. Drinking less is likely to result in better quality sleep and feeling better day to day.
Beers, wines and spirits contain lots of ‘empty’ calories so drinking less could help with New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. A tipple is also expensive, so cutting down and spending less can help people save for their post-Christmas credit card bills.
The team are also reminding people about the significant effects of excessive drinking on the body:
Short term effects
• Sexual difficulties like impotence (male)
• Slowed breathing and heartbeat
• Loss of consciousness
• Impaired judgment leading to accidents
• Poisoning which could be fatal
• Hangover leading to anxiety
Long term effects
• Certain types of cancer
• Liver and heart disease
• Strokes
• Weight gain
• Skin problems
• Damage to unborn child (female)
• Reduced fertility
Paul Hooper continued: “A good way to start planning to cut back on alcohol is to observe the government’s daily unit guidelines to measure how much you drink. The guidelines advise that women should not regularly exceed 2-3 units daily (equivalent to a 175ml glass of 13% wine) and that men should not regularly exceed 3-4 units daily (equivalent to a pint and a half of 4% beer).
“Give your liver a break by also having at least 2 alcohol free days per week. However, this doesn’t mean making up for lost time over the remaining 5 days.”
People concerned about their own or someone else’s alcohol use, should visit the DAAT webpage www.warwickshire.gov.uk/alcohol for advice and information about local services.
Go to www.nhs.uk/livewell/alcohol/Pages/Alcoholhome.aspx for some useful tools to help you keep track of your drinking.