Keeping a check on your alcohol intake

Hastings and Eastbourne web pictures

Hastings and Eastbourne web pictures

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An online test that can help West Sussex residents keep a check on their weekly alcohol intake and see if they are drinking more than could be good for them has been launched.

DontBottleItUp is a quick and easy online test that helps people work out whether their drinking is risking their health, and provides personalised advice and support.

It also gives information on where residents can get face-to-face support and other specialist help, should they need it.

The test can be found at dontbottleitup.org.uk

National research by the University of Sunderland found that middle-class professionals are risking serious health problems by using alcohol as a means of stress relief, and as a reward for looking after a family and working full time.

Researchers found that white collar workers who drank at home viewed alcohol as a reward for everyday chores after work hours, such as looking after their children and cooking dinner for their family. Home drinkers didn’t see their drinking pattern as problematic, but evidence suggests that such regular drinking will lead to significant health problems later in life.

Local research in West Sussex agrees with these national findings and shows that the motivations of working-age adults in the county to drink routinely can be to reduce stress, as a reward at the end of a busy day, to socialise or as part of their evening routine.

More than one in four people in West Sussex regularly drink more than the recommended levels of alcohol and more than 39,000 residents in the county are deemed as ‘high risk drinkers’ – people that drink at very heavy levels which significantly increases their risk of damaging their health and who may have already caused some harm to their health.

West Sussex County Council Public Health is urging residents to think about how much they drink and understand the impact it may be having on their health.

Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing Christine Field said: “It’s all too easy to go home after a hard day and reward ourselves with an alcoholic drink, and many of us won’t realise the impact this can have on our long-term health and wellbeing.

“DontBottleItUp is so easy to use and takes less than five minutes to complete. It encourages people to think about how much they drink, whether it’s more than they realise, and the risks that might be involved.”

Anyone concerned about their drinking, or that of a friend or relative, can talk to one of the Wellbeing Advisors across the county.

They can answer any questions, support people to improve their health, and help direct people to the relevant services. To find out more visit the website at www.westsussexwellbeing.org.uk and click on the alcohol link.