Alcohol Awareness Week 2023: Alcohol and Cost

Alcohol Awareness Week UK is an annual event that aims to raise awareness of the health risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption. This year’s Alcohol Awareness Week takes place from the 3rd – 9th of July on the theme of ‘Alcohol and Cost’. The purpose of Alcohol Awareness Week is to encourage individuals, organisations, and communities to talk openly about alcohol consumption and it’s impact on health and wellbeing. The week provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption, promote the benefits of moderation, and offer support and resources for those who may be struggling with alcohol addiction or misuse.

How Can Alcohol Affect Your Wellbeing

Alcohol changes the way your brain cells signal to each other, making you feel relaxed and can sometimes help with symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. While this can feel good for a short time, this effect doesn’t last for long. Side effects of alcohol consumption include worsening of your mental health after the calming feelings fade, hangovers including headaches, nausea, and vomiting, and post-alcohol anxiety /or depression. Research shows that people who drink alcohol are more likely to develop mental health problems. In addition to this people with severe mental health issues are more likely to have alcohol problems, this may be because they ‘self-medicate’, meaning they drink to deal with difficult feelings or symptoms. Drinking more alcohol to manage your mental health and get rid of these symptoms instead of getting help can lead to more problems.

Many people assume the occasional beer or glass of wine at mealtimes or special occasions doesn’t pose much cause for concern. But drinking any amount of alcohol can potentially lead to unwanted health consequences. Research shows that alcohol is a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions. Long-term alcohol misuse increases your risk of serious health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease and cancer. It can also cause permanent changes to the brain, such as problems with understanding, remembering, and thinking logically. Alcohol Awareness Week 2023 highlights the support services that are available for individuals who misuse alcohol and provides the space to talk and open up if struggling.

Alcohol in the Workplace

A recent article disclosed that as many as half of UK workers used alcohol to de-stress after the day at the office, suggesting that there is further action to be taken by employers to make managing workloads more bearable. 40% of employers mention alcohol as a significant cause of low productivity. A study revealed that minimised productivity in the workplace, caused by alcohol, costs the UK economy £7 billion every year. Using alcohol as a wind down after a hectic day is destined to create a vicious cycle of dependency, which could lead to the person suffering eventually losing their job altogether. 27% of people say that workplace stress makes them drink more with many workplace cultures encouraging drinking whether through informal socialising or workplace events where alcohol is often made available for free.

Research shows that employees in some industries are more likely to become heavy or dependent drinkers than others. Heading the list are mining and construction, hospitality, arts and entertainment and wholesale. There’s no-one-size-fits-all approach but putting in place a few key measures can make a huge difference to your workplace’s productivity, safety, and your employees’ wellbeing. To reduce the risk in your organisation you can offer an employee assistant programme to ensure that your employees’ can access support with mental and physical health issues. Host awareness-raising activities and events – but ensure that social events aren’t entirely geared around alcohol and have a good alcohol-free drink to offer. Alcohol awareness week 2023 provides the perfect opportunity for workplaces to come together to support colleagues who may be struggling with their drinking.

Alcohol and Cost

Managing and mitigating addiction is not only harmful because of the money lost to the substance, but also because of the subliminal funds that can hover just beneath the surface. Alcohol has so much potential to wreak havoc on both the wallet and a person’s overall wellbeing, from medical bills to various legal fees and personal opportunity cost. Already, for the casual drinker, the prices slowly add up and can take a decent chunk of your hard-earned cash. For those struggling with alcoholism, the overall costs can become astronomical and crippling in more ways than one. It’s important to remember that costs don’t just have to involve money. An addiction to alcohol can also cost you priceless hours from your job, your family, and all the other parts of life that make it enjoyable and worth living.

Heavy drinkers are more price sensitive than moderate drinkers, especially when the price of cheap alcohol in the off-trade increases. This means they are more likely to change their consumption when prices increase. Evidence shows that managing the price of alcohol is an effective way to reduce avoidable alcohol harm. The World Health Organisation recommends raising the price of alcohol as one of its three ‘best buys’ policies – through raising the prices consumers pay for alcohol will, on average across the population, reduce consumption and therefore reduce harm. Research shows that a 10% increase in the price of alcohol would lead to a 5% decrease in consumption. It further suggests that policies to increase prices would decrease traffic accident deaths, sexually transmitted infections and episodes of violence and crime, all of which can affect people other than the drinker. Alcohol duty contributes around £12 billion per year to the public purse – less than half the £27 billion estimated annual cost of alcohol harm.

How Can Wellity Support You this Alcohol Awareness Week?

The widespread opinion of addiction is typically shrouded in stigma and misunderstanding, with many people attributing addictive behaviour to being the product of bad decisions. Individuals who are concerned that they may have signs and symptoms associated with an AUD should consider speaking to a clinician, therapist, friend, colleague, or family member to gain further support and information.

Our session ‘Alcohol & Substance Addiction: Misunderstood and Untreated’ will explore the reality of alcohol, substance addictions and related disorders. It will equip attendees with a greater understanding of the causes and impact and how to practically help a co-worker who may need support.

For any information on this title or others we offer, contact us at hello@wellityglobal.com.

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