News Flash

After smoking, alcoholism kills more people in the UK than any other drug, and according to Government statistics, one adult in 13 needs alcohol help.  Add to this the fact that in the UK, 33,000 people die each year due to alcohol-related incidents or associated health problems and there is an urgent need for us to be asking ourselves ‘how much is too much' when it comes to drink?

Jill Antley, Manager of Linwood Park continues: "It is very difficult for anyone to acknowledge that they have need help for a drinking problem as there is so much shame attached to the condition.  Here at Linwood Park  we have developed the traffic light system, which helps people to quickly understand what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to alcohol intake.  It not only helps people to identify if they or a loved one needs alcoholic help, but it also encourages them to move from denial into reality about this area of their life.  The sooner a person can acknowledge that they have a problem and need help, the better their chances for a successful recovery".

The Traffic Light System for Drinking

Green: Safe drinking

Government guidelines for safe drinking suggest that 21 units for a man and 14 units per week for a woman are safe.  These should be spaced over a week and not consumed in one or two sessions.  The measurement of a unit of drink is suggested as being half a pint of beer, a glass of wine or a pub measure of spirits (however, be aware that a half pint of beer can contain 3.5 units of alcohol in special beers).

Amber: Unsafe drinking

This is when you are taking in more than the recommended amount on a regular basis and may be starting to show the early physical or emotional consequences of this.  If challenged about your drinking, you would strongly reject having a problem, after all ‘you deserve a drink' and ‘all my friends do this as well'.  At this level of drinking, you are more likely to show some blood chemical changes due to the high alcohol intake.  The enzyme in the liver, which deals with alcohol will be elevated as the liver is under some strain.

Red: Dangerous drinking

This is when you are at high risk of physical and emotional damage.  You drink even when you know it is not safe and at levels way above the safe limits.  Your friends and family have warned you and you may have already experienced difficulties at work, home or even with the police.  Your blood tests would show signs of dangerous drinking.  It is vital that you have the courage to admit and confront your drinking at this stage.  Being too proud or ashamed to admit you need help could cost you your life.

Road to recovery

If you or a loved one recognises yourself in the ‘Amber' or ‘Red' stages of a drinking pattern, what should you do next?  "Seeking professional help and advice is the next step on the road to recovery" continues Jill Antley.  "Here at Linwood Park, we operate a freephone number for all those who are concerned about their own, or a loved ones, drink or drug related issues.  It is a way to gain expert advice in complete confidentiality."

Contact Linwood Park for confidential help and expert advice for you or anyone close to you who needs help for a drinking problem.

Call free on 0800 066 4173 (or if you are calling from a mobile phone or from overseas, call 01226 698 054) for professional, confidential advice on those vital first steps on the road to recovery. Alternatively you can complete the form here on the web site, to be found at the foot of each page.

Drink Poll
Drink Poll

Drinking too much - safer drinking tips for party goers.

As Don Shenker, the chief executive of Alcohol Concern was recently quoted in the national media*: "We'll all enjoy a festive drink over the coming weeks, but there is no longer any doubt that far too many people are drinking at dangerous levels."  Although the festive season is meant to be about celebration and enjoying time together, there are many that are drinking too much over the holiday period.  In fact the Department of Health is so concerned about this trend, that they have announced a mobile phone application that can be downloaded that acts as an alcohol tracker.  (see iTunes or visit NHS for more information).

Although this innovative new tool allows drinkers to input how much they are consuming and view graphs of whether they are sticking to recommended units, there is still an element of discipline and pre-planning required to do this.  So, how can you enjoy the festive season, but not put yourself at risk?  A spokesperson from  Linwood Park gives you some hints:

Know your limit - First of all, it is important to know ‘how much is too much'.  Government guidelines for safe drinking suggest that 21 units for a man and 14 units per week for a woman are safe.  This works out at 2-3 units of alcohol per day for a woman and 3-4 units for a man.

Size matters! - Remember that the measurement of a unit of drink is suggested as being half a pint of beer, a glass of wine or a pub measure of spirits.  If you are celebrating at home it is worth keeping in mind that measures will be vastly different to those in a pub and watch out for those specialty beers and spirits that will be more units per glass.

Advanced planning - Before you go out for a celebration, think how much you plan to drink and stick to it.  Also, if you think that no food is going to be served there, eat first.  Drinking on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster.  Finally, think about how you will be getting home and don't leave it to chance, have taxi numbers in your phone or pocket to ensure the night doesn't end badly.

Social drinking - Round-buying is the ticket to disaster.  Either choose to skip rounds or buy your own, so you don't ‘drink to keep-up'.  Also keep an eye on the number of times a drink is topped-up.  Just because you haven't had to go to the bar for a refill, doesn't mean you aren't consuming way over the legal limit.

Pace yourself - Pace is key to a night you will want to remember, not forget!  Alternate alcohol and soft drinks, or dilute alcoholic drinks to ensure you don't overdo it.  Remember the darker the drink the worse the hangover, so go for spritzers or shandy rather than red wine or whisky.

Dance the night away - Rather than placing all of the focus on drinking, why not make sure that there is something else planned for the evening of festivities, such as dancing, bowling, a pub quiz/games Etc.  This will help take the focus off of the alcohol and ensure that the night's fun revolves around more than just getting drunk.

Whether you are planning to party out and about, or at home this festive season, remember that you can be in control of your drinking.  By thinking ahead and planning your evening you can ensure that not only will you have a night that you remember, but one that your body doesn't regret for days afterwards.

If the thought of regulating your drinking seems unthinkable, or you are finding that the need to celebrate the festive season doesn't end on January 1st and you think that you are drinking too much, why not check out Linwood Park's Traffic Light Drinking system to see if you need to get some professional advice on taking control of the drink, before it takes control of you?

If you would like to find out more about drinking too much or need help with yours or a loved one's drinking, then why not call Linwood Park's confidential helpline on: Freephone 0800 066 4173 (or if you are calling from a mobile phone or from overseas, call +44 1226 698 054) to find out how to get help sooner rather than later? Alternatively you can complete the form here on the web site, to be found at the foot of each page.

*The Guardian, Saturday 12 Dec 2009 ‘MP's back alcohol price control to curb drinking'.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 19 April 2011 09:13)