Alcohol Awareness Week is a week of awareness-raising, campaigning for change, and more.

This year’s Alcohol Awareness Week takes place from 15th-21st November, with the theme of ALCOHOL AND RELATIONSHIPS.

Alcohol and relationships are closely linked. Many of us associate alcohol with socialising, and alcohol can become a big part of our connections and interactions with those around us. But when our own or a loved one’s drinking starts to negatively affect our relationships, or stands in the way of us taking action on our own drinking, it can have a huge impact on our lives.

On top of this, research showed that many of us were drinking more to deal with feelings of loneliness and isolation during the pandemic. Leaving lockdown and returning to normal life has made us face new pressures too – pressures to drink, “sober shaming”, and pressures we put on ourselves to get back to ‘normal’ pre-pandemic socialising.

#AAW21 is a chance for you to get thinking about drinking.

Reduce Your Risk

Have you started drinking more alcohol since the start of the pandemic? If so, it might be time to look at ways of cutting down. Here are some facts about alcohol and health risks:

  • Cancer – alcohol raises the risk of at least seven different cancers.
  • Heart disease – too much alcohol can increase blood pressure and weight, increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
  • Mental health – you may think that drinking helps you to cope with stress, but it is more likely to lead to tiredness, hangovers, arguments and a low mood.
  • Weight –  the number of calories in alcohol can easily stack up.
  • Liver – large amounts of alcohol can lead to a build-up of fats in the liver. Over time, this can result in serious and permanent liver damage.
  • Immune system – heavy drinking can weaken the immune system and leave us more vulnerable to diseases, such as COVID-19.

To keep these risks low, men and women should not drink any more than 14 units per week – equivalent to six pints of beer/lager OR six standard glasses of wine OR seven double measures of spirits a week.