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Want to stay in control? Top tips to avoid getting too drunk this party season

25th November 2013

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Want to have a fun December, stay in control – and remember it all in the morning?

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing when it comes to alcohol consumption this party season – although it may sound like an alien concept, you CAN avoid both binging and the hangover and still take care of your body while having fun. 
AXA PPP healthcare’s Dr Mark Winwood has provided six simple steps to help you stay in control. Here he shares his advice on small changes you can make to ensure you drink sensibly and take care of yourself now the nights are long and the booze is flowing:

1.      Plan your evening. It’s not a race to see who can drink the most in the shortest time, so slow down and enjoy your drink and the company of the people you’re with. Better still, centre your social outings around an engaging activity rather than just drinking: perhaps go dancing or book some entertainment. Stick to your plans and pre-book your taxi home to avoid the risk of being swept up in an evening that drags on when the fun’s over.

2.      Opt out of rounds. Don’t feel pressurised into being part of the crowd when it comes to rounds. Be up front and honest with your companions if you want to opt out – you probably won’t be the only one as others may want to stick to their own pace too. Not only will this help you keep track of what you’re drinking, it will also help you save your Christmas present pennies!

3.      Steer clear of cocktails and avoid mixing your drinks. One of the easiest ways to lose control of your alcohol intake is to mix numerous wines and spirits. You consume more units of alcohol when mixing drinks, so choose one drink and stick to it.

4.      Less is more. Don’t be caught out by a large glass of wine; opt for a small glass instead and choose singles over doubles. Check the strength of alcohol in your drinks – you might be surprised to find that the alcohol content in similar-looking reds or beers can vary greatly, so just ask at the bar. And it’s not a bad idea to drink water in between alcoholic drinks – this can help dilute the effect of the alcohol and keep you feeling fresh.

5.      Dilute your drinks. Soda and tonic water can be your best friends on a night out. Diluting your drinks means you’re lowering the percentage of your alcohol intake and with less alcohol going into your bloodstream, you’re likely to feel better the following day!

6.      Alcohol free drinks. Don’t feel you have to have alcoholic drinks. These days most bars offer ‘mocktails’ so why not order one of those? Drinking fruit juices provides the body with a range of vitamins you may not otherwise get on a night out.

Dr Mark Winwood explains: “Our tips show that being a sensible drinker doesn’t have to mean being a boring one. When you’re tempted to consume a large volume of alcohol over a sustained period of time, it’s important to be careful. Your body needs time and resources to manage this seasonal increase. So help it out a little and try to remember our tips when you’re out drinking during the coming Christmas season.”
To provide further support, AXA PPP healthcare is hosting a Live Chat on drinking alcohol taking place on Friday 6 December 2013 from 11am to 1pm at AXA PPP healthcare’s Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services, will be on hand to answer questions from anyone with concerns about drinking alcohol. Questions can be submitted in advance at

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