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Just one more drink? How to know when it's time to lay off the booze

16th April 2013

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Images of student-plus-alcohol excess at Fresher’s week are common viewing in many tabloids and for many young people alcohol has become synonymous with student life - but it doesn’t have to be. Too much booze can lead to all sorts of problems and get you in to all sorts of scrapes, so it’s good to know exactly what you’re dealing with. Lauren Booker of Alcohol Concern tells us more... 

If you want to be the perfect pupil...drink responsibly. Current guidelines say women shouldn’t drink more than 2 or 3 units a day (that’s about a glass of wine); men shouldn’t drink more than 3 or 4 units a day (that’s a couple of pints of normal strength lager). Everyone should lay off the drink for 2 or 3 days a week.

You know you’ve had too much when...the reality is your tolerance to alcohol can build up over time if you’re drinking regularly, so the amount of booze which initially made you feel drunk might not after a while - but it’s still doing the same damage. Having a drink and being sociable is one thing. It’s probably the end of the night if you’re being sick in the toilets, squaring up to people for a fight or worried that you might not be able to get yourself home safely.

Too much alcohol can have all sorts of consequences. Over time it can lead to many health problems like liver disease and some cancers (doctors say they are seeing more and more young people with alcohol-related liver disease). You might also want to think about all the calories you’re consuming (there are more than 300 calories in a pint of strong lager and nearly 200 in a large glass of wine), the disturbed sleep which will leave you knackered and your dried out, dehydrated complexion!

All sorts of injuries follow drunken people around like’ll have heard the story about that person who thought they could jump down from a high wall (and couldn’t) or thought being pushed home in a trolley was hilarious (until it crashed). Alcohol affects the parts of your brain that control coordination, mood, reasoning and that small but vital bit that normally stops you blurting out that you still sleep with your favourite teddy.

Dealing with a drunken friend can be a real pain.... but a little bit of planning and you can avoid that embarrassing 2am vomit fest or waking up in the local custody suite. Make sure they (and you) stay hydrated, sticking to one drink rather than mixing, eat before you start drinking and pace yourself.

Knowing when it’s time to get help... If your mates are hinting that you need to slow down or you’re not getting things done because of the hangover – time for a rethink. Keep a drink diary for a few weeks and work out just how many units you’re knocking back. There are lots of online tools and apps that show whether your drinking is putting you at risk. If it is, cutting out some units or drinking sessions should do the trick. If you’re finding that hard, contact your GP or local alcohol service for support. 

If you think your drinking is a problem call Drink Line on 08009178282

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