Go Sober this October

Go sober this October

1st October marks the start of an important month for those trying to reduce their alcohol intake as Go Sober for October begins.

Founded by Macmillan Cancer Support, the month-long challenge encourages people to change their drinking habits for the month and adopt healthier habits throughout the year, while raising awareness and vital funds for people living with cancer.

Latest figures from Alcohol Change show that 24% of adults in England and Scotland regularly drink above the low-risk guidelines as set out by the Chief Medical Officer. The same report found that alcohol can cause more than 60 medical conditions around the body, including certain cancers, high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver and depression.

The latest statistics from Drinkaware show that 19% of adults drink at high-risk levels and adults between the ages of 45 and 64 are most likely to drink above the low-risk guidelines.

Alcohol Change also revealed that, in England alone, there are over 975,000 hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption every year, and this number is growing.

In fact, all the statistics point to the fact that the negative impact of harmful drinking is undeniably stark, with death rates increasing, more interpersonal relationships under strain, and millions of people suffering with physical and mental health conditions as a result.

What happens in the body when you drink alcohol?

As an alcohol testing laboratory, providing alcohol testing services for members of the public, the legal sector, and the workplace sector, we are very familiar with the impact that alcohol can have on the body.

How alcohol affects your body can vary depending on your age, weight, metabolism, and the type of alcohol you have been drinking i.e. beer, wine, or spirits.

When you drink alcohol, it is absorbed into the bloodstream, and more than 90% of it is broken down by the liver. As the alcohol travels to different parts of the body, including the brain, it begins to affect your basic functions including breathing, movement, and temperature control.

Short-term effects of alcohol include slurred speech, drowsiness, slower reaction times and impaired memory. However, people who drink for several hours may experience other effects including paranoia, increased aggression, and mood swings. Alcohol can also lower your inhibitions, leading to increased risk-taking.

People who drink excessively over a prolonged period can develop a higher tolerance to alcohol, leading an individual to drink even more, and worsening the long-term effects of alcohol on the body.

Long-term chronic and excessive alcohol consumption over many years has been linked to several serious health complications including liver damage, nerve and brain damage, immune system problems, depression, high blood pressure and certain cancers.

The NHS recommends that men and women drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. Binge-drinking – drinking a lot of alcohol in a short period of time – is also discouraged, as the liver can only process one unit of alcohol per hour.

What are the benefits of going Sober for October?

Studies have shown that there are many health benefits associated with taking a break from alcohol. Macmillan Cancer Support outlines the benefits of Go Sober for October as having a clearer head, more energy, better sleep, healthy weight loss, and a sense of achievement. You may even begin to see positive changes in as little as one week as the brain heals itself and chemical levels regulate.

Research published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that just one alcohol-free month can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce the risk of diabetes and reduce levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood.

Your skin will also reap the benefits of not drinking. It will appear brighter, more youthful and plumped, with fewer breakouts.

However, it is important to note that the benefits of taking part in initiatives like Go Sober for October can vary significantly, depending on an individual’s level of alcohol dependency.

How can I reduce my alcohol intake?

The NHS recommends that men and women consume no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. This is considered ‘low risk’ drinking.

If you want to gain a better understanding of how much you are drinking this October, and how you might be able to reduce your intake, it’s important to understand the number of units in different alcoholic drinks.

Other helpful ways to reduce your alcohol intake, according to resources provided by Alcohol Change, include:

  • Teaming up with a friend to take a break from drinking
  • Finding alcohol-free ways to enjoy yourself such as taking up a new hobby
  • Keeping track of your drinking, making a note of how much you drink throughout the week, and setting goals for yourself
  • Recognising situations where you tend to drink more and making alternative arrangements when you want to cut down your alcohol consumption

Please be aware that if you are struggling with alcohol addiction, reducing your alcohol intake without medical advice might not be right for you. For this reason, it is recommended that you speak to your GP, who will be able to provide advice on safely reducing your alcohol intake.

Where can I get an alcohol test?

As an accredited alcohol testing laboratory, we are well placed to support you with your alcohol testing needs, whether you have concerns about a loved one misusing alcohol, and want a test for peace of mind, or you are a member of the public who requires a legal alcohol test for official matters.

We also offer alcohol testing for legal professionals and social workers, and employers looking to discourage alcohol abuse in the workplace.

Our UK laboratory is fully equipped to test a variety of samples for the presence of alcohol including blood, hair, and nails. We also offer point-of-care breath tests, as well as alcohol monitoring using SCRAM CAM®.

For more information, contact our friendly and discreet Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email info@alphabiolabs.com.

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