Substance Abuse ServiceSt Vincent's Hospital, Fairview

Take it easy this Christmas....



Go SLOWER!

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"Party Season"

Over the Christmas and New Year period, many people drink more than usual - sometimes without even realising it!


Think of how many different times over the next month or two which can involve drinking…..

“The work Christmas party”

“A night out with the girls”

“A night out with the lads”

“Meeting the gang for a few pints”

“We’re having a night in with a bottle of wine ... or two”

“We have drinks on Christmas Eve, Christmas day, and Stephens day”

“I visit a lot of friends and relatives and they always offer me drinks”

“New Years Eve is a big session”


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1 (UK) unit of Alcohol = 8g of alcohol

Many bottled and canned drinks now have information on the number of units contained in the drink printed on the label . Otherwise, as a broad guide;

A unit is 1/2 pint of ordinary beer or larger or 1 small glass of wine or 1 pub measure of spirits

Lower risk drinking for a healthy adult is 14 units per week for women or 21 units for men, spread throughout the week, with non drinking days in-between.

 

Go SLOWER

Smaller drinks - a glass instead of a bottle, a shandy instead of a pint, dilute spirits liberally

Leave your glass down between sips, and don't rush to refill

Occupy yourself - play pool, dance, chat

Why not try alcohol free beers / wines / cocktails

Eat before and while you drink

Rounds should be avoided in most cases

 

Other Top Tips

  • Try not to drink one day after another

  • Decide how much, and what you're going to drink before you go out and keep count

  • Beware of home measures of spirits and wine, they’re usually bigger

  • Carry a limited amount of money with you

  • Avoid drinking before you go out for a drink!

  • When drinking alcohol, choose drinks with a lower alcohol content (lower %vol)

  • Never drink and drive


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Christmas can be stressful enough - adding too much alcohol makes it even more stressful

Think about it!

By drinking a bit less

You can…….

  • Enjoy not having a hangover

  • Save some money for whatever you want

  • Enjoy the days of Christmas and New Year instead of trying to recover

  • You’ll have more energy & feel more in control

  • You’ll be less likely to get involved in arguments and accidents

  • By drinking less you are less likely to do or say something you later regret.

  • Drinking less means you’ll remember having a good time!

If you are pregnant, on medication or have a physical and / or mental illness, have a chat with your doctor or nurse about drinking alcohol, as all of these affect the level of risk or harm drinking alcohol has for you and / or your baby.


Did You Know?

  • The majority of alcohol related problems and costs in Ireland are not caused by ‘alcoholics’ but by ‘ordinary drinkers’ who at times overdo it.

  • 1 in 10 cancers in men and 1 in 33 cancers in women are caused by drinking.

  • One Cocktail can contain several units e.g. a Long Island Iced Tea is about 5 units.

  • Alcohol affects the central nervous system which means it not only affects breathing,
    heart rate, movement, etc, it also changes how we think, feel, perceive things and behave.

  • It takes about 1 hour for your body to process 1 unit of alcohol., and this can be even slower for some people. So, if you have 5 units, it can take more than 5 hours for your blood alcohol level to reduce.

  • Mixing alcohol and drugs - whether they are legal, prescribed or illegal can have dangerous and unpredictable results. If you are on prescribed medication or take “over the counter” medication, always check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.


Drinking Influences

Many things can influence your decision to have a drink - what things influence you?
Have you ever thought about it?

Some common influences include: advertising, hunger, thirst, tiredness, happiness, sadness, frustration, routine, the availability of alcohol (if its not there you won’t drink it and vice versa)

Other people can also influence your drinking. Have you ever been in situations where people top up your drink, include you in rounds, or who press you to drink?

Your own thinking is a major influence and can lead you to drinking more than you originally intended. Ask yourself, if thoughts like “I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb” “everyone drinks hard at Christmas” “I deserve a reward” “I can’t have fun if I don’t drink” have led you to drinking more

    Its simple, the more a person drinks, the more alcohol
    related problems they will have both in the short
    term and the long term - physical, psychological & emotional

 

For more information on alcohol, its effects and moderate drinking:
www.alcoholireland.ie
www.irishhealth.com
www.drugs.ie

If you find it hard to cut down or control your drinking you may need to consider stopping altogether. Contact your local GP and/or alcohol service for support and advice.

 

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      Take It Easy This Christmas