Chapter Two: Should you drink less or stop completely?

"Doctor, I know I need a detox, but I'm sure I can have just an occasional drink afterwards - what harm could that do?"

Well none... if it was just the occasional drink. In fact, to drink a small amount on a few days per week may actually be healthier than drinking nothing at all. And this leads us on to the main question for this Chapter:

Main question two:
Do you plan to continue drinking (but less) or to cease drinking altogether?

POSSIBLE ANSWER 1:
I PLAN TO CONTINUE DRINKING - BUT LESS.

OK - fair enough - but how much do you plan to drink?

The World Health Organisation has published guidelines on what it considers to be the maximum levels of alcohol use that an individual can tolerate in the long term without causing damage to the body. These guidelines state the following:

FOR MALES:

  • A maximum of 21 units should be consumed in any one week.
  • Within a period of one week there should be at least two drink-free days.
  • No more than 4 units should be consumed in any one day.
Effectively this means the following:
  • You should drink no more than 2 pints of 3-4% lager/beer (Carlsberg/Heinekin) or 1.5 pints of 5% lager/beer (like Stella/Kronenberg) or 1/3 bottle of wine or 1/9th bottle of spirits on any one night.
  • You should have at least two days in the week when you drink no alcohol at all.
  • You should drink no more than 9 pints of 3-4% lager/beer per week or no more than 7 pints of 5% lager/beer per week or no more than 2 bottles wine per week or no more than 2/3 bottle spirits per week.

FOR FEMALES:

  • A maximum of 14 units should be consumed in any one week.
  • Within a period of one week there should be at least two drink-free days.
  • No more than 3 units should be consumed in any one day.
Effectively this means the following:
  • You should drink no more than 1.5 pints of 3-4% lager/beer (Carlsberg/Heinekin) or 1 pint of 5% lager/beer (like Stella/Kronenberg) or 1/4 bottle of wine or 1/10th bottle of spirits on any one night.
  • You should have at least two days in the week when you drink no alcohol at all.
  • You should drink no more than 6 pints of 3-4% lager/beer per week or no more than 4.5 pints of 5% lager/beer per week or no more than 1.5 bottles wine per week or no more than 1/2 bottle of spirits per week.

Now, for someone who is used to drinking heavily, these guidelines may seem rather mean.

From one perspective, I agree; if you find drinking enjoyable then you may think it is acceptable to take some risks with your health in order to enjoy life more. May be you like to 'live for the moment' rather than spend all your time planning to stay alive as long as possible. After all (you might say to yourself), "I could find myself walking across the road tomorrow and be knocked over - why not enjoy today for today?"

In general, there is nothing wrong with that argument at all. What is wrong with it in your case is that you are already experiencing problems caused by alcohol; if you weren't there is no way you would have read this far.


Next page .. Chapter Two - Social, Psychological, Physical Problems Caused By Heavy Drinking

How To Enjoy Life Without Alcohol index

 

The above information is copyright of Dr Bruce Trathen MBBS MRCPsych (2006). ISBN 0-9545164-0-0. The author grants permission for these guidelines to be downloaded, copied and distributed freely, but does not grant permission for their sale.

 





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