Covid-19 Series. Monitoring your alcohol intake and staying safe- Written by Carolyn Brown.
During the current lockdown, it could be that all the structure and routine you had put into your daily life has now flown out of the window – leading to boredom, isolation and increased stress; triggers that may cause you to increase your alcohol intake.
The current guidance relating to the safe consumption of alcohol for both men and women is less than 14 units of alcohol weekly as well as a minimum of 3 alcohol free days a week.
Research has shown that excessive alcohol intake has a detrimental effect upon both physical and mental health. During the current coronavirus restrictions and the uncertainty, stress levels may increase, resulting in unhealthy habits resurfacing.
If you are struggling with low mood, drinking alcohol to excess can make matters worse. Alcohol is not a good coping mechanism for stress and could increase the symptoms of panic and anxiety disorders, depression and other mental health problems. If you experience depression, you would have lower levels of serotonin, the ‘feel good’ chemical in the brain. Drinking alcohol will also lower these levels of serotonin in the long-term, thus resulting in a negative cycle of poor sleep, increased irritability, lack of motivation and suicidal thoughts.
With regard to coronavirus, the excessive use of alcohol increases the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), one of the most severe complications of this virus, as well as weakening the immune system and therefore reducing the ability to cope with infectious diseases
DRINKAWARE is an excellent resource – there is plenty of information here to help you from advice on alcohol and health, to drink trackers and other helpful tools. For more information, please click here.