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health&beauty
BOOZE
BLUES
is it time to cut your
liver some slack?
Most of us like a drink or two with
friends, but what if a couple consistently
becomes a dozen? Charlotte Dingle
takes a look at binge drinking.
You’ve lost your mates, your mobile and your sense
of direction. But that’s probably not all you’ve lost
because if you’re getting completely plastered on
a regular basis, you may well have started to lose
your looks and liver function as well. Binge drinking
is a real problem in our bar and club-oriented gay
scene, and it isn’t one which has an easy solution.
Only you can decide to break away from the crowd
and cultivate a more sensible relationship with
drink – nobody can do it for you.
About two or three pints in, what started out
seeming like a whole bundle of fun can swiftly
turn dodgy when you get past drink number six
or seven. Problem is, it’s hard to stop when you’re where the majority of social interaction outside of Lucy, 27, gave up drinking five years ago: “The first
already a bit squiffy: logic goes out the window. work seems to involve alcohol. As Katie, 30, says: thing I noticed, apart from all the weight I lost, was
Although we may be aware that we’ve already had “It’s really hard sitting in a pub and not drinking. I how much time I suddenly had. No more wasted
enough, some of us just can’t stop when we’ve start out with good intentions but always end up evenings in the pub, or Sundays spent recovering
started. Of course, alcohol truly is a double-edged getting bored and reaching for the wine.” from hangovers. It was like having a new life.”
sword. It can offer up the best of times and the
108
worst of times, depending on how you handle it. There really are ways to have fun that don’t involve The government advises women to stop drinking
a drink, though. You won’t be doing yourself any after two to three units of alcohol. This is the
If the embarrassment, inconvenience and favours if you put yourself in temptation’s way, equivalent of a pint of beer, three shots of any
hangovers don’t put you off drinking until you’re so you may want to start swapping that Friday spirit, or a standard 175ml glass of wine. Plenty of
blotto, maybe it’s time to think about what it is evening pub session for a country walk on Saturday people drink at least three or four times that during
doing to your insides. Alcohol can cause a huge afternoon. Or perhaps you’d rather visit the cinema a night out, and consuming huge amounts of
number of health problems, including high blood or an art gallery? booze has unfortunately become normalised in our
pressure (which can lead to strokes), mouth, culture. Alcohol is getting progressively cheaper
throat and gullet cancer, hepatitis, cirrhosis of the Having some kind of perspective on your life is and it’s quite possible to be drinking at very
liver and malnutrition. It can also contribute to really important if you want to cut down your damaging levels on a budget of as little as £5. In
depression and weight gain. The cost of getting alcohol intake. Instead of just looking forward today’s hectic world, people often drink to try and
blasted every weekend might extend much further to the next pub session, pave the way for more relax but, in reality, alcohol abuse causes stress.
than the contents of your wallet. meaningful developments in your life. Think about Giving your body a break from it could be one of
where you’d like to be in five, ten, fifteen years the best ways to improve both your physical and
So, if your social life is one big whirl of inebriated time. It’s exciting being alive when you think like mental health. Make mine an orange juice!
chaos and you want to change it, what can you this. The buzz of instant gratification you get from
do? It’s not something that people often manage a drink is all well and good, but in the long term it For help with cutting down your drinking, visit:
overnight. It may be easier to stop completely than isn’t going to give you deep, genuine happiness – in www.pacehealth.org.uk
to cut down. This is not a simple move in a world fact, if you abuse booze, it will take it away from you. www.drinkaware.co.uk
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