Alcohol Awareness Week

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[Annie Cracknell | Contributing Writer]

The aim of the week is to familiarise the general public about the concerns associated with alcohol. According to the NHS Choices website, the recommended daily allowance for a man should not exceed 3-4 units. However, this changes slightly for a woman to 2-3 units per day. Below is a guide for you to use to see how many units are in your favourite drink.
Diagram taken from NHS Live Well pages, NHS.UK. Accessed: 27 Oct 2015.

So why do we drink? Many people like to drink socially. This can be with friends, or with their families. They can do this at meal times or a way of relaxing after a day at work or at the weekend and this is perfectly acceptable. However, there is a lack of fundamental knowledge in exactly what is a unit of alcohol and what alcohol can do to our bodies if we have too much.

One unit of alcohol equates to 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol. That is roughly the amount it takes for an adult to process in an hour. What that means is that if you consume one unit of alcohol within one hour, your body should not have any alcohol left in your blood. You should be aware that this can vary depending on every person.

The theme for this year’s awareness week is “the impact of alcohol on health and society.” The week looks at educating people on the health risks associated with drinking too much. Drinking too much can put you at risk of developing cancers such as mouth, throat and liver cancer, as well as others. In addition to this, there is a risk of developing other diseases such as cardiovascular, liver cirrhosis and depression. The campaign is working to empower young adults into thinking about what role alcohol should have in their lives.

The impacts alcohol has on society affect people otherwise unconnected to the drinker. There is a connection between alcohol abuse and higher rates of workplace absences, so unemployment grows. Abuse of alcohol is also linked to higher rates of crime in neighbourhoods because alcohol impairs good judgment. In addition to impairing judgment, alcohol is a main cause for road accidents.

Although this awareness week is dealing with a sensitive and serious issue, there is also a need to rid the stigma surrounding excessive drinking, so that people who are in need of help can get help without feeling bad about themselves. It’s important that we know our limits with alcohol and the effects it can have on us overall. The week is for people of all ages, it is designed to educate and help people. It’s very important to realise that a problem such as this can happen to anyone, especially students.

If you are affected by any of the issues relating to alcohol that have been raised in this article, please contact the UH well-being and counselling team on 01707284453 or email counselling.centre@herts.ac.uk.

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Alcohol Awareness Week