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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Alcohol Awareness week

​​​​​Understanding alcohol harm​

Pharmacies across the island are participating in Alcohol Awareness Week from 1 to 7 July 2024. This an opportunity to talk about the harm alcohol can cause, understand the facts about the impact it can have on the body, what is considered a safe amount to drink and the support services available if you are worried that you may be drinking too much.

Alcohol often plays a central role in our lives, it’s there when we celebrate, commiserate and when we’re just trying to cope. Yet alcohol harms our health and wellbeing daily, from the quality of the sleep we’re getting, to our relationships with those we love. And each year, thousands of people experience long-term health problems because of the alcohol they drink or die from alcohol-related causes.

Alcohol has been found to contribute to more than 60 medical conditions​

Find out more information on how alcohol can affect your health alcohol: the facts.

The risk of developing a range of health problems increases the more you drink on a regular basis. 

To keep health risks from alcohol low, it is recommended for both men and women to drink no more than 14 units a week, spread over three or more days with several drink-free days, and no bingeing. 

Find out what 14​ units of alcohol looks like 

To understand how much alcohol you are drinking you can ask your pharmacist for one of the free Alcohol Awareness Week unit cups, calculators or self-assessment cards or visit the Drinkaware website and use their online calculator Unit and Calorie Calculator on drinkaware.

If you think you might be drinking too much and are ready to drink less, small steps - like understanding your triggers, can make a big difference:

Try drink-free days

Have several ‘drink-free’ days when you don’t drink at all. When you do drink, set yourself a limit and stick to it.

Know your triggers

Try keeping track of what triggers your desire to drink and find ways to change your habits. For example, if you pour a drink to relieve stress or boredom, delay it by doing something else and see if you still want the drink later.

Plan ahead

If you have a stressful week ahead, plan for something different to do that doesn’t involve alcohol. This can be as simple as going for a long walk, going to the cinema, or booking a meal out.

Track your progress

Each week set a goal and track your progress​, whether you’ve achieved your goal or not. And remember, slip ups happen so don’t beat yourself up – if you haven’t hit your goal one week, make a fresh start the day after.

You can use this Self-Assessment Tool and Drink Diary​ to better understand your relationship with alcohol.

Find further Apps to help support your health and wellbeing on Public Health Jersey.

Pace yourself

On a night out, pace yourself by alternating alcoholic drinks with water, soft drinks or low/zero alcohol alternatives to keep those units down.

Ask for support

Having a supportive friend that knows you’re trying to cut back can make a big difference. Tell them how important it is for you and why - you might not be the only one wanting to cut back and might encourage someone else to team up with you. If you’re in a relationship and would like to know how to reduce the amount you and your partner drink​ as you’re often more likely to make a positive change for your health if you do it together. ​There is a big community online of people who are on the same journey to cut their drinking, or stop your complete guide to online peer support on drinkaware.

Benefits of reducing your drinking

Cutting back on alcohol can have positive effects on the way you look and feel – often within just a few days. And, you’ll be reducing your long-term risks of serious illnesses, such as cancer, at the same time.

Psychological, Social and​ F​inancial benefits

  • improved mood and relationships
  • better performance at work
  • more time to pursue your hobbies and interests 
  • save money: the more you drink, the more you spend

Physical benefits

  • better quality sleep 
  • increased energy levels 
  • lose weight: alcohol is packed with calories and you will be less likely to eat unhealthy food
  • reduced risk of injury through accidents
  • stay healthier for longer: drinking less reduces the risk of developing long-term health conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart and liver disease

If you are concerned about how much alcohol you are drinking and need further support, you can speak to your pharmacist, GP or find referral and support services alcohol issues and getting help​.

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