Developing Health & Independence (DHI), a local charity which provides drug and alcohol services, have released their top tips for people to manage their use of alcohol during lockdown. They have released the tips to coincide with Alcohol Awareness Week, which this year has the theme ‘Alcohol and Mental Health’.
Research from Alcohol Change UK earlier this year showed that around 8.6 million people in the UK had increased their drinking during the first national lockdown.
Julie Hughes, Treatment Services Director at DHI, said: “The national lockdowns can be a time of stress and isolation for many people, and we recognise that in those circumstances many people turn to alcohol. However, following these simple tips will allow you to manage your drinking so that it does not become a problem issue. If you think alcohol is already a problem for you, then I would urge you to get in touch with DHI.
“It’s also important to note that there is some evidence that shows that excessive alcohol consumption can weaken the immune system. We want to make sure that people who are using alcohol excessively have the help they need so that they are less vulnerable to any infections.”
DHI provide support for people who have a problem with alcohol in Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, and South Gloucestershire. During the COVID-19 pandemic, much of their support has shifted to being over the phone or online, but all their services are still fully open and operational.
DHI’s top tips
- Do other things to relieve stress or isolation like exercise, playing games or calling friends and family
- Keep track of your drinking and make sure to have at least a few drink-free days each week (current UK guidelines are to drink no more than 14 units per week: about 6 pints of average strength beer or 7 medium glasses of wine)
- Try alcohol free drinks like mocktails or some of the great alcohol-free beers, ciders and wines that are available now
- If you are using alcohol to fill time, start that project you’ve always been meaning to do, or try learning a new skill (e.g. a language)
- Don’t use alcohol to help you sleep. If you are struggling to sleep make sure you get on a regular schedule and try relaxation exercises, reading or listening to radio or podcasts. Try to avoid screens for an hour before you go to bed.
- Don’t drink alcohol to quench your thirst. If you are thirsty, have some water or a soft drink first.
- Alternate your drinks. Have a soft drink between each alcoholic drink.
- Put down your drink between sips. If it is in your hand, you will drink it more quickly.
Rosie Phillips, DHI’s Chief Executive, said: “We know that Covid’s impact is greatest on those who are most vulnerable and marginalised. DHI needs your support more than ever right now. Donations from the public allow us to help more people whose drinking has reached problematic levels.” Donations to DHI can be made at here.
If you are concerned about your drinking, then you can find out more about DHI’s services here. . If you are concerned about a family member or loved one’s drinking, then advice, information and support are available here.