January 2018 - Alcohol Awareness

If you're like most adults in Britain, you drink alcohol (at least occasionally). But you could be drinking in ways that may cause problems to you or those around you.

Drinkaware, an independent UK-wide alcohol education charity, has found that many people are still unsure about:

  • how much they're drinking
  • the impact of alcohol on physical and mental health
  • the impact on family and social relationships
  • new guidelines

For example, did you know that the 'low-risk drinking guidelines' were recently revised to no more than 14 units a week spread over three days or more for both men and women (it was previously 21 for men and 14 for women)?

You also won't be alone if you get confused by "units". Particularly when people think in terms of 'bottles', 'pints' and 'glasses'. Drinking guidelines are measured in 'units' because alcoholic drinks come in different strengths and sizes so 'units' are used as a standard measure to tell how strong a drink is.

Drinkaware (https://www.drinkaware.co.uk) have a range of online tools to help you get to grips with:

  • units
  • calories
  • managing drinking levels

It also seems that some people believe alcohol has no calories and some people think it has so many calories that they skip meals. In fact, alcohol contains almost the same number of calories a gram as pure fat.

Some people believe that because alcohol contains "empty calories" that drinking alcohol will keep them thin no matter how much they drink. Calories from alcohol are called 'empty' because they have no nutritional value, not because they have no calories. And, to make matters worse, alcohol calories could be considered 'extra-fattening' because drinking alcohol reduces the body's ability to burn fat for energy.

If, over January, you've been cutting back or cutting out alcohol and have been surprised about how much you have been drinking, don't worry.  Changes and stresses in our life can lead to drinking levels creeping up without us realising.

If you need help now, explore the local alcohol services and what advice and info might be available to you.

Kingston Alcohol Services

If you are thinking about your drinking, e-drink-check is a free, tailored website for Kingston residents that provides a discreet and flexible way of thinking about how much you are drinking and whether you would like to drink less or even stop altogether. It contains information about alcohol and its effects, as well as tools and tips for people wishing to moderate their drinking.

The recommended age for using e-drink-check is 16 years and over and participants will need access to an internet connection. Please visit http://e-drink-check.kingston.gov.uk

For more information or support with the website, call the Healthy Lifestyle helpline on 020 8547 6815 or email [email protected]

Young People's Substance Misuse Service (Kingston & Richmond)

The Young People's Substance Misuse Service consists of a range of substance misuse specialists from different agencies, working together to provide a comprehensive drug and alcohol service for young people. The service works with young people 18 years and under, and/or their families, who are affected by substance use. A wide range of interventions are available, including ongoing one-to-one support and group work, family work and schools based work. Specialist interventions are aimed at reducing drug and alcohol related harm and involve the young person in all aspects of their care.

The team is also available to offer support, guidance, consultation and training to all professionals working with young people and their families.

For more information, call 020 8547 6920 or email [email protected]

Kingston Wellbeing Service

Adults of all ages registered with a Kingston GP can get support with substance misuse issues at Kingston Wellbeing Service.

For more information see their website www.kingstonwellbeingservice.org or call 020 3317 7900 or email [email protected]