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Use of Alcohol 

In society today alcohol is readily available it is everywhere you go, in supermarkets, corner shops, you can even buy it when going to some shops which are now called variety retailers.  These sort of shops sell a bit of this a bit of that and have a kiosk which offers alcohol, although it be minimum choice, alcohol is still sold.  Not to mention all the pubs which open for very long hours commencing from mid-morning to the wee small hours of what some of us would call the middle of the night. 


People drink for a myriad of reasons to relax, socialize, celebrate a special day, a birthday or wedding and some people go out to get hammered or just for the hell of it.  A few of these occasions get chalked up to experience, "it was great" or "wicked night" people will say!


There's nothing quite like sitting in a warm location with a cool jug of beer, lager or  wine chatting with friend or when enjoying a  barbeque or romantic meal or any meal alcohol enhances the evening!


When used occasionally alcohol to socialize is a relaxing, friendly feel good factor to any proceedings, celebrations or just for the hell of it, on occasion!

"It takes about one hour for the body to break down just one unit of alcohol"

It may take longer depending:


  • If your liver is damaged or not working normally

  • Your age.

  • Male or female

  • Weight

  • Food you have or not eaten

  • Type or strength  of unit

  • If you have taken any medication prescription or otherwise.

14 units a week is now considered a healthy limit for both men and woman. 

1 unit = 1/2 pint of beer/ lager - 1 small glass of wine - a bottle of wine = 8 units and 1 measure of a spirit is 1.5 units.

Alcohol becomes a problem not when you are using it for pleasure but when it starts to be used as a way to 'block' out life' conundrums, as a coping strategy or a frequent escapism technique.  The effects of using alcohol in this way may 'creep' up on a person unaware as the 'habit to drink' becomes the normal 'go to' when things get pressured and stressful things happen in your daily living.  Like stress, addiction can creep up and build until it becomes the problem which is causing a whole host of consequences for everyone.  The original issues which started a persons on this track will have become hidden or buried as the issue of excessive drinking take hold.  When the going gets tough the tough go drinking!  When a person is drinking excessive alcohol it offers many consequences not only for the consumer but also those people around them.  


After about 10 minutes the effects of alcohol will start to become known to you as the alcohol enters your blood stream, one or two drinks is likely to make you feel relaxed or giddy; as you carry on drinking you will feel a whole host of affects as a consequence, misuse of alcohol affects relationships, damages both the individual and society as those using blame their actions on its usage for crimes committed, violence whilst under the influence, accidents and drink driving kills. The consequences for misusing alcohol can be short or long term for example:


Short Term affects include:

  • Poor concentration, cognitive distortion, inability to act quickly

  • Impairs judgment distorts perception, vision and hearing

  • Drowsiness. lethargy, disorientation

  • Deterioration of existing issues i.e. illness, upsets, work issues

  • Lowers your inhibitions, past losses or emotional upsets burst up and out.

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach

  • Loss of personal belongings i.e. handbag, wallets, house keys

  • Accidents and injuries which may be serious enough to visit A & E

  • Reckless or violent behaviour fighting, walking out into the road without looking

  • Unprotected sex or having sex with strangers you have just met

  • Sexually transmitted disease (STD)

  • Alcohol poisoning which can lead to fits, falling unconscious and coma

  • Losing the next day or even days due to hangover and recovering from its affect

  • Headache, dehydration, tiredness, sleep disturbance.


Long term health effects include:

  • Disrupts sleeping patterns which can lead to long-term insomnia which leads to stress, anxiety, high blood pressure.

  • Liver damage

  • Cancers i.e mouth, throat, stomach, liver, bowel

  • High blood pressure and Stroke

  • Heart disease, nerve damage

  • Sexual issues, erectile dysfunction

  • Depression

  • Permanent damage to the brain

  • Inflammation of the stomach walls (gastritis)

  • Bleeding stomach, ulcers

  • Reduces appetite and can lead to malnutrition

  • Vitamin deficiency which can lead to disorders characterized by amnesia, disorientation, anemia, apathy, fatigue.

  • Paranoia, hallucinations, psychosis


Mental Health issues, alcohol is a depressant, it impairs cognitive functioning, The Mental Health Foundation reports that 70% of men who take their own life drink before doing so and 65% of suicides have been linked to excessive drinking.


Since alcohol affects the brain, those parts which controls our judgment, behaviour and emotions if you binge drink you may be at greater risk of becoming a victim to domestic violence, rape, muggings, you may be easy prey for someone who wishes to assault another.  You may be at increased risk of injury and even death from accidents, trips slips and falls.  In the long term you may find yourself unemployed and unemployable due to poor work performance, constant absences which will lead to financial difficulties, housing issues and general social issues which will have a snowball effect not only on your health but the health of your relationships with family and friends and you may find yourself left alone with your habit because of the consequence you inflict on your loved ones.


If a family member is misusing alcohol and you feel you are at the end of your tether, feeling trapped and it is affecting your daily work, rest and play.  If you find someone else's behaviour is interfering with your relationship with others in your life and/or the relationship you have with your children and yourself.  Confidential support is available to you, you are equally important consider accessing support with an experienced and professional counsellor for yourself consider contacting me to discuss your needs and the support I can offer you personally.


In my experience alcohol is another symptom and an end result of what has come before  the person began drinking unhealthily, in other words it is the 'effect' of a 'cause', rather than the cause of effect.  Whilst it has many effects on the person using it to their and everyone's else's detriment.  This may be due to relationship break up, divorce, accident, illness, grief following the death of a loved one, personality disorders or childhood neglect and abuse.  There are as many causes for someone becoming addicted to alcohol as there are people and it is a complex and complicated issue best handled with professional support.  Whether you are the person addicted or misusing or someone suffering the consequences of someone else's drinking habits.


If you are a binge drinker or alcohol is becoming a problem consider contacting me to discuss your needs and support.  Alternatively see the links below, just don't go it alone help and support is available for all.

If your drinking is totally out of control and you are dependent on it to get you through your day and/or your body is dependent on it you must not just go 'cold turkey' because this can be very dangerous to your health and well-being both physically and mentally.  If you are wanting to use alcohol healthier or wishing to abstain altogether   You will need to de-tox and this is best undertaken with the support of professionals in a controlled environment.    If this is the case for you or a loved one, then please contact your GP or nearest AA services the following links may be of help to you. #

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