Tips for sensible drinking
So many people drink alcohol that we can sometimes forget the damage it can do - to our physical and mental health - if we drink too much. Here are some tips to help you drink sensibly:
Give your liver a break. Your liver works hard to remove the alcohol so give it a decent rest for at least two days in the week. Alcohol can damage the liver and it needs time to repair itself.
Drinking coffee or having a shower doesn’t make you sober. It can help you stay awake but it won’t get rid of the alcohol in your system – only your liver can do that! The only thing that gets alcohol out of your system is time.
Have a meal. It’s a good idea to eat before and during drinking, as food can help to absorb the alcohol more slowly so it that doesn’t go straight into the bloodstream.
Alcohol also irritates the lining of the stomach and intestine which can cause sickness and vomiting. This is less likely to happen if you eat a balanced meal.
Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water before you start drinking alcohol and in between drinks. It will slow down your drinking speed, giving your body more time to process the alcohol. Drinking water or other soft drinks will stop the dehydration and you’ll have less of a hangover in the morning.
Don’t mix alcohol with medications. Mixing booze with medication can be dangerous as it can change the effects of the medication, the alcohol or both.
Don’t mix drugs with alcohol. Some might think that mixing drugs with their drink will increase the buzz but in reality it’s seriously dangerous. Alcohol slows down your nervous system and combined with other depressant drugs, it could shut down your body altogether.
Set a 'drinking budget' and stick to it. Think about how much you're going to drink before you start. One way to help stick to this is to take only enough money to buy the drinks you decide you want to drink (and a bit more to see you home safe).
Keep a drinking diary. Trying to remember exactly what we drank over the last week can be hard. Keeping a daily diary for a couple of weeks can help give a better picture of your drinking patterns. Have a look at our Self Monitoring page for more information.