As December dawns, one’s thoughts turns to the Christmas office party or night out, but at the same time one must consider the risks heavy drinking brings.
The National Health Service website states that more than 10 million people in Britain drink more than the recommended daily amount. Men should drink no more than three to four units of booze a day; women no more than two to three.
Consequences of Heavy Drinking
With the congested party season around the corner, it is important to know how to survive the binge-fest and return home in reasonably good shape.
The consequences of heavy drinking stem further than the average short-term hangover. Over-indulgence on alcohol can affect all major organs in the body, as shown below.
- Alcohol can cause damage to the brain, causing blackouts, anxiety, violence, depression and other mental problems.
- Drinking causes high blood pressure and also damage to the heart, stomach and lungs.
- Hepatitis and cirrhosis are common ailments associated with alcohol; fatty deposits develop in the body, causing inflammation in the liver and increasing the risk of associated cancers.
- Alcohol also dehydrates the skin, weakens the bones, and causes weight gain.
More Effects of Heavy Drinking
Add to that the financial loss and social stigma of being a heavy drinker, and even the most hardened party-goer can see why they need to drink less on nights out. The most serious consequences of a wild Christmas night are the results of losing inhibitions in sexual activity, whilst being drunk can result in anti-social behaviour, crime, losing a job due to poor performance or drunk driving, and damaging friendships and relations with colleagues or relatives. Know your limits and stick to them!
Happily there are many methods and ways to avoid the dreaded hangover, reduce the harmful effects of drinking, and make sure that this Christmas is a happy and safe one. The NHS suggests the following:
- Before going out, have a carb-rich meal that fills the stomach, as the foods helps to break down the fats in alcohol. A turkey rich Christmas dinner might be a good idea!
- Remember that dark coloured drinks such as whiskey and brandy usually result in worse hangovers than lighter drinks such as vodka or, well, water.
- Speaking of which, where possible drink water or soft drinks in between alcoholic drinks. Another top tip is to place a glass of water on the bedside table before venturing out.
- If feeling fragile the morning after, rehydrate with water as much as possible and use over-the-counter remedies such as aspirin, paracetomol or Alka-Seltzer.
- A fry-up, especially one containing eggs, may help to settle the stomach, as can sugary foods or vitamin rich soup. Avoid where possible caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee as these can dehydrate the body further, and do not use the “hair of the dog” method of drinking more booze, as this only delays the symptoms of a hangover.
Also on a night out, always travel together in large groups, keep an eye out for one another, and make sure you only use official public transport when going home, especially when under the influence. Better still, the kind-hearted non-drinker can be a designated driver for the night and give lifts home if he/she wishes. Whatever the occasion, stay safe, be sensible, but have a brilliant festive season!