"There is good evidence that drinking to much alcohol increases your risk of cancer of the stomach, throat, liver,
colon, oesophagus and breast. Drinking a single glass of wine a day increased
womens chance of developing breast cancer by 6%, rising to 50% for those drinking more than a bottle daily."
(Cancer Research UK)
Many people say they cope with their stress by using alcohol but this
is a potentially lethal form of stress management because like any drug, and alcohol is a drug, you need to consume more and
more to gain the same effects. Alcohol is not the problem, it's excess alcohol
that's the problem. A lot of people try to cope with stress by using alcohol. This approach is definitely a negative stress management technique. It doesn't deal with the problem it merely temporarily masks the stress.
We need to keep consuming more and more alcohol to gain the same benefit; this style of stress management can lead
to alcohol misuse and it's associated myriad of heightened risks of physical, psychological, health and social problems, and
research has shown that it can actually contribute to reducing our ability to cope with stress. Many, many people who have used alcohol to try to manage stress have found it to be the beginning of the
slippery slope to alcohol misuse and alcoholism, which has not only destroyed their lives, careers and health, but also
A report published by the Institute of Alcohol Research said that nearly two million people in the UK have an alcohol
problem and can't get through a day without consuming alcohol. Alcohol is regarded as being socially acceptable to consume
but in reality it is a drug and has widespread negative effects on our biochemistry when consumed in excess levels. Ask many
people and they will cite that they are concerned over the level of drug abuse in modern society, yet twice as many people
are addicted to alcohol compared to other drugs.
In the final analysis
alcohol doesn't solve problems, in fact it creates more problems that you have to deal with. Consuming alcohol to help us
deal with our problems is the equivalent of pouring petrol onto a fire in order to put the fire out. You don't have to totally
abstain from alcohol but its vital for wellbeing to keep consumption to within safe limits.
Negative Effects Of Alcohol On Brain And Body Biochemistry
Alcohol can and does have a potentially powerful
and mostly negative effect on brain and body biochemistry if consumed in excess amounts causing or exacerbating stress, anxiety
and depression. Alcohol is a chemical stressor and causes the body to release stress hormones like cortisol and if you already
have heightened levels of these stress hormones, the alcohol will make them higher. It does this by stimulating the sympathetic
nervous system and the adrenal glands.
can temporarily raise mood enhancing chemical levels like those of serotonin, this is how it can improve mood, but in excess
alcohol makes these serotonin levels fall and lowers mood, increasing depression.
Certain nutrients are needed by
the body in order for it to manufacture chemicals that dampen anxiety. Alcohol causes depletion of vitamin B6 and Folic acid,
the very nutrients needed for us to be in optimum psychological health enabling us to cope with stress. It also stimulates
the release of the stress hormone adrenaline and interferes with the amino acid tryptophan which is used to manufacture serotonin.
Serotonin is a chemical involved in sleep and mood regulation.
acts by mimicking the activity and function of the chemicals already present in the brain that help us to relax. Small
amounts of alcohol positively influence the brain neurotransmitter serotonin (the brain's stress managment system) however
excess alcohol has a negative effect on serotonin.
The Health Education Authority Current Guidelines For The Level Of Maximum Consumption Of Alcohol Is:
- 21 units per week for men.
- 14 units per week for women, (But no alcohol if pregnant).
One Unit Of Alcohol is Approximately Equal to:
single pub measure of spirit ( 25ml)
small glass of sherry/fortified wine (50ml)
small glass of wine (125ml)
quarter of a pint of strong lager, beer or cider (142ml)
a pint of ordinary strength lager, beer or cider (284 ml)
pints of low alcohol lager, beer or cider (1136 ml)
It is important to spread these alcohol units out throughout the week. Some people go on a massive binge and use up
the 21 units of alcohol recommended per week, over a day or two, which research has shown to be harmful. If you do feel you
have an alcohol problem then you could reduce the impact on stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia by cutting down your intake
to current recommended drinking limits.
You can still enjoy alcohol but its about not drinking excess alcohol.
To Excess Alcohol Consumption
is thought to be related to being a factor in the development of at least 40 different health problems, for example high blood
pressure and stroke. Excess alcohol consumption can cause or worsen a great many psychological, physical and social
health problems. Alcohol related disease is such a problem that it has been estimated that up to 20% of all beds on Medical
Units in the NHS are taken up by people suffering alcohol related medical health problems. Almost 50% of men and 20% of women
drink alcohol to deal with stress, 1:20 people in the UK, that's nearly 2 million people have an alcohol problem and 1:4 people
cannot get through the day without alcohol so you are not alone. It is nothing to be ashamed of, excess alcohol is a very
treatable problem and there are alternative, safer and more effective ways of dealing with stress, anxiety and depression.
Researchers found that
binge drinking is quite common and that there are health risks particularly associated with binge drinking. Although there is no formal amount of alcohol that is classed as binge drinking the Office for National
Statistics have set the following guidelines:
· 6 units and above
for women per session per day.
· 8 units and above
for men per session per day.