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Alcohol Awareness Week: understanding alcohol harm

by Laura Johnston

Everyone is being encouraged to get involved in this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week (1 to 7 July 2024) by talking about the ways in which alcohol harm (drinking too much alcohol too often) affects people, and how this ripples out to families, friends, communities and wider society.

As part of the campaign, Alcohol Change UK is shining a light on the centre-stage role that alcohol plays in our lives and culture – as it’s promoted as we watch our favourite sports, advertised as we travel to work, and strategically placed in our favourite films, social media and TV shows, and yet alcohol use continues to be stereotyped as an ‘individual’s problem’.

Alcohol Change wants to get the country talking about the role that alcohol plays in our society, and what it means to families, communities, health workers and those in our emergency services.

Alcohol is harming people’s health and wellbeing on a daily basis, affecting the quality of the sleep we’re getting and our relationships with those we love. Each year, thousands of people experience long-term health problems as a result of increased alcohol consumption, or die from alcohol-related causes. Alcohol has a significant impact on the health of your liver, pancreas, heart, and brain and has links to long-term health conditions such as liver disease, cancer, diabetes, and dementia.

But this is preventable. By opening up conversations about alcohol harm and helping to reduce it, we can help to create an environment where it’s easier for us to make more informed choices about our drinking, reducing both the personal costs and the wider costs to society.

Ways to help you drink less alcohol

We can all take steps to make a change to drink less and improve our health:

  • Have a few alcohol-free days each week
  • Try swapping your usual alcoholic drink for an alcohol-free alternative
  • Use a smaller glass and try switching to a lower strength (ABV%) beer or wine
  • Keep track of your drinking – including number of days and amount consumed.

By taking control of our drinking habits and lowering our drinking we can begin to experience better health and wellbeing, save money and have better relationships.

Lower My Drinking App

The Lower My Drinking App, which is free to download for anyone who lives or woks in Cheshire and Merseyside, can help you manage your drinking.a week or less.

The app is designed to help change how you think about alcohol and the role it plays in your life. It not only guides you to set your drinking goal, but helps you achieve it too.

It allows you to track progress, identify reasons to reduce your drinking as well as highlighting scenarios which could potentially tempt you to drink more and allow you to plan how you will limit this.

As well as this, the app provides feedback and guidance, explaining side effects and the potential benefits of cutting down, including psychological, social, financial and physical.

To download the app visit Google Play or App tore. Get started today so you can get healthier and feel better!

Alcohol Awareness Week is coordinate by UK charity Alcohol Change UK.

Local specialist advice and support is available in Knowsley, with somebody available to speak to you confidentially if you are concerned about your drinking or are worried about a family member or friend. Change, Grow, Live even offer you free liver screening at assessment as part of a liver health check.

For more information visit the Change, Grow, Live website, phone 0151 482 6291 or email Knowsley@cgl.org.uk