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14 units

Balance encourages people to stay within 14 unit weekly guideline


How does Alcohol affect your Mental Health?

Ahead of Mental Health Awareness week (18 – 24 May), Balance is joining up with one of the region’s leading consultant psychiatrists to encourage people not to use alcohol as a coping mechanism during the COVID-19 crisis.

Alcohol and mental wellbeing are closely linked, as one of the main reasons people drink is to change their mood or mental health.

Many people might choose to pour themselves a drink to unwind after a hard day’s work or if they are feeling a bit low might have a drink as a ‘pick me up’. However, using alcohol as a coping mechanism to alleviate stress, or manage anxiety or depression or other mental health issues such as poor sleep can cause problems as alcohol is a depressant.

It comes as recent research from Alcohol Change UK and Balance, found that more than one quarter of North East adults (26%) who drink, are drinking more often since lockdown began on 23 March – although more than one in three (37%) have reduced how often they drink or stopped drink-ing altogether.

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, regularly drinking alcohol affects the chemistry of the brain and can increase the risk of depression. Increased consumption can lead to feelings of low mood and anxiety. Even though alcohol can help us relax and give us more confidence, the effects are short-lived and instead of relieving anxiety and depression it can be a contributing factor.

Drinking too much can have a negative impact on mental health but it also affects physical health. Alcohol disrupts sleep, affects both short-term and long-term memory and concentration.

Balance is encouraging people to stay within the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) low risk drinking guidelines of no more than 14 units a week to protect both their physical and mental health. 14 units means around six pints of regular strength beer or lager, six standard glasses of wine or seven double measures of spirits.

Read more here.

Watch our video - find out how to stay healthy by not drinking too much.