Drinking to cope.

I’m sure that many of us have had ‘one of those days’, looking forward to opening the fridge as soon as we get home. In isolation, this is fine. The problem arises when this turns into a regular behaviour and used as a way of coping.

In the moment, drinking alcohol could make us feel better and give us some light relief. Our blood alcohol levels increase, and things seem to feel slower and more relaxed. This relief is often short lived as after around 20-30 minutes, the body starts to purge the alcohol from our blood, and we start feeling uncomfortable and possibly even more stressed. Another drink anyone?

By drinking to cope, or ‘self-medicating’, we risk changing the chemistry of the brain, which can then exacerbate the symptoms of mental illness.

If you do find that you’re drinking as a coping mechanism just to get you through the day, as a member of FEO, you have access to a brilliant peer support group.If you get hold of one of the management team, I’m sure that they will be able to put you in touch with a mentor that can help you focus and make sense of the pressure that you’re feeling.

Drinking limits recommended by the NHS

According to the NHS, the term ‘alcohol misuse’ means drinking excessively. This means not regularly drinking more than 14 units of alcohol per week. If you do drink as much as 14 units, it’s best to spread them evenly over 3 or more days. Below are some examples of popular drinks and how many units are in each:

  • Single shot of spirits 1 unit.
  • Small glass of red or white wine 1.5 units
  • Pint of low strength beer, lager or cider 2 units
  • Bottle of red or white wine 10 units

During our mental health first aid courses, we have a quiz to see what the alcohol content is in a number of drinks. By the end of the quiz, many people are shocked as they didn’t realise how many units were in each drink. It can be a great eye opener!

Signs you could be drinking too much

During our courses, we teach our candidates that the following signs and symptoms could indicate that someone is drinking too much alcohol.

  • Drinking every day
  • Drinking alone
  • Always hungover in the morning
  • Hiding alcohol use or keeping it stashed away
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Neglecting their appearance/hygiene

If you’re concerned about how drinking could be affecting your life or that of someone else, there is help available.Please see the links below for helpful numbers and websites along with more information on the role of the mental health first aider

Links

Signposting:https://www.jewelsafety.co.uk/signposting

For more information on the role of the mental health first aider, please visit here:https://www.jewelsafety.co.uk/training

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