Alcohol – the facts

Alcohol is so widely available and misused by all ages.  You have a choice to drink as much or as little as you want, but what you need to remember is that alcohol can be extremely harmful to you both physically and mentally.

The effects of Alcohol

It is true, alcohol can help us relax, feel good.   Some people say it gives them confidence to socialise.

As individuals, we need to know our own limits, drink sensibly.  Have you ever woke up the next morning after having a night out, that you had been planning for a long time and cannot remember what you did, where you went, what you said.  If this is YOU, then you need to start thinking seriously about your physical health and well being, about the impact and consequence of what could happened to you.

No one is saying don’t drink alcohol, just drink sensibly, having a good night out with friends and family is one that you can remember in the morning, not one that you may regret because you cannot remember who you were with, how you got home, how much did you drink.

The effects of alcohol:

  • Affects your judgements and decisions
  • You might do or say things you regret later on
  • You may get into arguments or fights
  • You could seriously hurt yourself
  • Makes you less sensitive to the needs and feelings of others
  • Alcohol is a depressant, which is why when you’re feeling low, worried or depressed you can feel worse not better
  • You may fall asleep outside and freeze to death
  • You may choke to death if you vomit while asleep
  • You increase your chances of having an unplanned pregnancy
  • You increase your chances of having unprotected sex, and being infected by an sexually transmitted infection (STI) including HIV
  • You could ruin your relationship with your partner, friends and family if you continue to misuse alcohol

Myths

  • There is no magic way to get sober.
  • Having a cold shower or drinking plenty of black coffee does not work.

The organ responsible for dealing with alcohol in your bloodstream is your liver, but your liver can only deal with a limited amount of alcohol per hour and there is no magic solution or technique to speed up this process.  A unit equals 10ml of pure alcohol, which is how much an adult can get rid of in one hour.

How much alcohol can I drink safely?

The recommended limits for adults are:

Men – no more than 3-4 units a day and no more than 21 units in one week

Women – no more than 2-3 units a day and no more than 14 units a day

Under 18s – there is no known safe amount

It is recommended that you have at least 2 days a week without alcohol.

So what’s a unit of alcohol?

A unit equals 10ml of pure alcohol.  The examples below are average unit levels as the strength and brands of drinks varies.  Many drink companied today display the unit content on the label to help you drink sensibly.

A 330 ml bottle of standard larger or beer is the equivalent of                     1.7 units

A standard can of larger is the equivalent of                                              2.1 units

1 pint of medium strength lager/beer is the equivalent of                             2.8 units

1 pint standard lager/beer is the equivalent of                                            2.3 units

A 275 ml bottle of alcopops is the equivalent of                                         1.5 units

1 litre bottle of vodka is the equivalent of                                     37.5 units

700ml bottle of whiskey is the equivalent of                                                 28 units

35ml measure of gin, rum, vodka and whiskey is the equivalent of    1.4 units

1 pint of strong cider is the equivalent of                                                   3.4 units

I litre bottle of cider is the equivalent of                                                         5 units

175ml glass standard size wine is the equivalent of                                      2.1 units

750ml bottle of wine is the equivalent of                                                     9.8 units

Can Alcohol Affect My Health?

In the long term alcohol can cause:

  • Stomach disorders, such as ulcers
  • Cancer of the mouth, throat and gullet
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Brain damage
  • Problems with the nervous system that can cause pain in the legs and arms
  • High blood pressure
  • Lower your sperm count
  • Damage an unborn child
  • Increase your risk of breast cancer

Where can I get help?

If you are worried about your drinking or want more information because a friend or relative is drinking too much and you just need some advice can call:

DRINKLINE free on 0800 7314314 or visit www.infoscotland.com/alcohol for more information