HSE ASK ABOUT ALCOHOL
Alcohol and Your Physical and Mental Health
In Ireland, we consider alcohol part of our culture, a way to relax and reward ourselves. So do we ever stop to think whether our drinking is having a negative impact on our bodies and minds?
Alcohol can interfere with your sleep, contribute to feelings of low mood and anxiety, affect fitness and fertility, and increase your risk of developing cancer.
Even drinking a little bit less can help you to feel better, physically and mentally. It can also help you to keep a healthy relationship with alcohol, and avoid problems in the future.
Is too much less than you think?
The truth is, the less you drink, the better it is for your health and wellbeing.
However, staying within the low-risk guidelines can help you to reduce the risk of alcohol related disease and illness. The low risk guideline for men (aged 18-65) is 17 standard drinks or less a week.Try to have at least two to three alcohol free days a week and spread your drinks over the week. Drinking more than six standard drinks at a time significantly increases the risks to your health and wellbeing. Spacing and pacing your drinking will also help you to avoid building tolerance to alcohol and forming a habit.
So what is a standard drink?
What exactly is to gain?
1: Improved Mental Health: You might think a few drinks helps you to cope with your problems but alcohol is a depressant. It can often make a bad mood worse and make it even harder to cope with day-to-day stresses. Sticking to the low-risk guidelines is good for your mood and mental health.
2: Improved Fitness: Alcohol affects sports performance and muscle build-up and makes it harder to maintain a healthy weight. Three pints of beer actually gives you an additional 545 additional calories – the same amount of calories as two burgers. So cutting back will make those fitness goals easier to reach.
3: Improved Sexual Performance: Heavy drinking can reduce a mans sperm count, and sex drive. If you’re in a relationship or trying for a baby, drinking less can improve your sex life and chances of conceiving.
4: Heart Health: Drinking can increase your blood pressure which can lead to strokes and diseases of the heart muscle like cardiomyopathy. Drinking less is good for your heart.
5: Reduced risk of Cancer: The less alcohol you drink, the lower your risk of developing cancer such as mouth, throat, bowel and liver cancer.
Ask About Alcohol
The HSE’s Ask About Alcohol campaign and website gives you the information you need to drink less and gain more, direct from the experts.
Cutting down on the amount of alcohol you drink can help you live a healthier life. If you want to make a change, Ask About Alcohol has lots of tips and tools to help you cut down and stay on track.
If you want some help calculating your alcohol consumption, use the Ask About Alcohol Drinks Calculator.
Worried about your own or some else’s drinking? There is help available. Visit http://www.askaboutalcohol.ie for further information.