First 444 words of the document:
Alcohol misuse is a major public health problem, placing a heavy burden on society, and
affecting a large number of individuals of all ages.
Contrary to what many people believe, alcohol is not a stimulant. It is a depressant. This is
why drinking too much often leads to impaired judgment, slurring of the speech, a tendency
to violent behaviour and loss of shortterm memory.
As alcohol also irritates the stomach, heavy drinking can cause sickness and nausea, and
sometimes diarrhoea. Alcohol also has a dehydrating effect, which is the main reason why
excessive drinking can lead to a hangover. It can also lead to temporary impotence in men.
Facts and Figures
Either on its own or in conjunction with other factors, alcohol is estimated to be responsible
for at least 33,000 deaths in the UK each year.(1)
In Great Britain, just under a third of men (31%) and one in five women (20%) drink more
than the advised weekly limits of 21 and 14 units a week respectively. Some 8% of men and
2% of women drink more than the levels regarded as harmful, namely 50 and 35 units a
week respectively. (2)
More than one in 25 adults are dependent on alcohol, and the UK has one of the highest
rates of binge drinking in Europe (3)(4)
An estimated 17 million working days are lost each year due to people missing work due to
the effects of alcohol. (5)
Around 6% of road casualties and 17% of all deaths on the road occur when someone has
been drinking over the legal limit. (6)
In young adults, binge drinking is also associated with a range of risky behaviours, including a
higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted illness. (7)
The harmful effects of drinking are almost entirely related to the alcohol content of what you
drink, not the type of drink. In other words, beers are no safer than spirits. What matters is
how much you drink.
The alcohol content of drinks is measured in `units'. Each unit is equivalent to around 10mls
or 8g of pure alcohol (ethanol). The number of units in any drink is related to the strength of
the alcohol content (the concentration) and to the volume of the drink.
For example, a single (35ml) shot of spirits contains roughly the same amount of alcohol as a
small (125ml) glass of wine. This is about the same amount of alcohol (1.4 units) as is
contained in a half pint of normal strength beer.
The short term health risks of alcohol include:
Other pages in this set
Here's a taster:
Sexual difficulties such as impotence
Impaired judgement leading to accidents and injuries
Slowed breathing and heartbeat
Loss of consciousness
Suffocation through choking on your own vomit (aspiration)
Potentially fatal poisoning
Drinking heavily also increases your calorie intake, and it is frequently associated with
obesity. This in turn leads to increased health risks. Adding 3 or 4 units per day to your usual
diet would lead to an increase in weight of around 4lbs in four weeks.…read more
Here's a taster:
If you think you may be drinking above the sensible limits, you should try to take some steps
to reduce your consumption.
Some suggestions include:
Make a deliberate decision about how to avoid drinking too much when you are in a
potentially heavy drinking situation, either at home or when you are out with friends,
at a restaurant, pub or wine bar.
Look online for more information the tips and tools at www.drinkaware.co.uk or
www.downyourdrink.org.uk are good places to start.…read more