The festive holidays are when family and friends come together and many people enjoy alcohol at these times of togetherness and celebration.
But celebrating and enjoying each other’s company can lead to overindulgence.
Alcohol in moderation can be pleasant; however alcohol in excess can have a negative impact on health and mind.
As alcohol is a depressant, it’s no surprise that it slows down the body’s movements, while also affecting the brain - vision, hearing, emotions and perceptions.
Drinking too much can impair your judgement and lead to risky behaviour like unplanned or unprotected sex which can leave you feeling stressed and regretful the next day.
If there is something in your life causing you stress or anxiety, drinking alcohol may seem like a good way of relieving this stress.
However this good feeling is short lived and excess alcohol can intensify negative feelings of anger, depression or anxiety.
Do you find your mood and energy levels low in winter? Low levels of daylight are linked to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that comes with the change in season. Some people try alcohol to lift them out of their slump – but the effect is short-lived and may lead to heavier drinking to sustain it.
Getting out and about may help, with fresh air and daylight, and a healthy diet can help against the seasonal slump.
For further information on SAD visit Mind’s website: here
Guidelines, Advice, Support
In 2016 the low-risk drinking guidelines were revised and men and women are now advised that to keep health risks from alcohol to a low level, it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis and if drinking 14 units per week regularly to spread units over three days or more.
That’s about four and a half pints of lager, or one and a half bottles of wine – a week.
To keep track of alcohol consumption, units and calories visit the Drinkaware website or download the Track and Calculate Units App: here.
There are local and national support services available if you think alcohol is affecting you or someone close to you negatively.
For details of local alcohol and drug services visit: website