MOST of us like to enjoy a glass of wine in the evening or a cold beer after a hard day.
But for some people it can be a struggle to know when to stop drinking.
And experts are warning that the coronavirus pandemic has left more people turning to alcohol as a way to cope.
A report published earlier this week revealed that the number of boozers putting their health at high risk doubled.
It leapt to 8.4million in June, from a pre-lockdown figure of 4.2million in February, the Royal College of Psychiatrists warns.
But if you've noticed a friend or family member knocking back a few too many rum and cokes, there are ways you can help them.
Experts have devise a recognised test for alcohol-use disorders, which can determine whether or not someone may have an alcohol problem.
Simply answer the questions above, then follow the scoring guide to see the level of risk and dependency.
While it can be a good indicator of whether or not someone is struggling Elaine Hindal, head of charity Drinkaware said there are seven signs that a loved one is drinking too much.
1. Day drinking
Elaine said that opening a bottle or can earlier in the day than you usually would is a sign a loved one may have a problem.
She advised that if you are craving a drink during the day then you could experiment with non alcoholic beverages.
This gives you the taste of the drink you are craving but without the units.
2. Finding it hard to stop
One of the questions in the quiz above assesses how many times you have found it different to put down the beer.
Elaine said that your loved one could be struggling if they find it hard to stop drinking after they have had one or two drinks.
Elaine said that drinking out of boredom could be a sign your loved one has a problem.
She said it's important to not binge drink as this can lead to accidents and alcohol poisoning.
She added that it's important to spread your units out.
4. Using booze to cope
For many people, having an alcoholic drink is a way to wind down after a hard day, while others will have a drink to celebrate.
Elaine said that if your loved one is using booze to cope then it could be a bad sign.
She said if a loved one is feeling depressed or anxious and is using alcohol to curb these feelings then it could be cause for concern.
5. Drinking more
People can sometimes unintentionally drink too much if they are at a social gathering – or at an event.
But Elaine says if a person is purposely drinking more to get the same feeling they did before then they may be struggling.
6. Poor sleep
Having a drink in the evening can help some people fall to sleep – while for others it completely disturbs their sleep pattern.
Elaine said that if the quality of you mood, your sleep and you're overall wellbeing has declined then you might have a problem.
Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, Silentnight’s resident sleep expert previously said that drinking close to bedtime interferes with a number of normal sleep processes.
She added: "The Rapid Eye Movement – or REM – sleep stage is missed as you go straight into a deep sleep.
"As the alcohol wears off, you will return to REM sleep, making you more likely to wake up after only a few hours sleep."
You’ll snore more too, adds Dr Ramlakhan.
"Alcohol relaxes the muscles in the body, including the tissues in your throat, mouth and nose, stopping the air flowing smoothly. This makes them more likely to vibrate – and you to snore."
7. The sweats
Elaine said the sweating more than usual could indicate that your loved one has a problem.
Experiencing sweating, shaking or nausea, which could all be symptoms of alcohol withdrawal (it is important to get professional medical advice or support if dependent on alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
She added that stopping drinking completely can be dangerous to your health).
Juggling careers, childcare and homeschooling, as well as worries about job security, have seen more of us hit the bottle and addiction services are struggling to cope.
Drink Aware said there are some actions you can take now.
- Stick to drinking within low-risk guidelines – no more than 14 units each week.
- Have at least three drink-free days each week and replace drinking with an activity.
- Take the pressure off calculating units by keeping track of your drinking with our app.
- Experiment with alcohol-free drinks, there is an increasing variety on offer in the shops.
- Use smaller glass sizes for drinks and use a bottle stop to save wine for another day.
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