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Help for alcoholism – how to drink safely

What is the best approach to drinking alcohol, so that you are in control of it rather than it being in control of you? And if you’re a parent of teenagers who are fast approaching the legal drinking age in the UK, what’s the best advice you can give to them when it comes to avoiding alcohol-related problems?

Here are some tips on how to enjoy alcohol safely:

Avoid pre-drinking – having a couple of glasses of wine or cans of beers from the fridge as you get yourself ready for a night out might seem like a good idea, but it can actually prove fatal. Even one alcoholic drink can impair your reflexes. If you pre-drink, you may not even make it to your intended destination, and if you do, you’re likely to reach a dangerous level of intoxication much more quickly than you would have done if you didn’t already have alcohol in your system.

Alternate your drinks - wherever you’re drinking, try to alternate your alcoholic drinks with glasses of water. Drinking water in between alcoholic drinks will help you to stay hydrated and help to slow down the drinking process, meaning that your body has time to ‘catch-up’ with what you have been drinking. This can help to prevent you from becoming excessively drunk.

Have some alcohol-free days - as well as minimising your drinking to a sensible amount, discipline yourself to having at least three alcohol-free days each week. This is something that medical professionals across the country are increasingly encouraging adults of all ages to consider. If you stick to a golden rule of only drinking alcohol on alternate days, that means for six months of the year you’ll be teetotal, which can do wonders for your health.

Don’t switch from one type of drink to another - sticking to one drink-type is safer as it is far easier to monitor how many units of alcohol you have consumed, helping you to stay in control of your overall alcohol consumption. It also means that there are less chemicals/alcohol strengths entering your system.

Restrict your spending - only taking out a certain amount of cash with you and leaving your debit and credit cards at home is a great way to stick to your intended drinking limit whenever you socialise. You could even get your friends to do the same.

Put your drink down - how many times have you gone out for the night with your friends and found yourself clutching a glass the entire time? When it is safe to do so, such as when you’re sat in a restaurant or at a friend’s house, putting your drink down throughout the evening can help you to pace yourself a bit more and ultimately drink slower, which can mean drinking less. However, if you’re in a busy or crowded place and surrounded by people that you don’t know, putting your drink down isn’t advisable.

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