It's weird isn't it? How a lot of us tend to associate alcohol with relaxing, treating ourselves to a glass of wine or a cheeky beer at the end of a long day or a long week. We associate it with summer, having a ice cold beer or a cocktail in the sun, and we associate it with celebrating after an achievement or on a birthday. Yet alcohol is actually proven to increase anxiety and stress, and long term heavy drinking can contribute to feelings of depression and make it harder to regulate your moods. Of course - having the occasional drink isn't wrong or bad, but what happens when drinking alcohol becomes more than just the 'occasional one'? And how do you know when you're drinking maybe a little bit too much?
The signs - how much is too much? As a young adult carer, you might tend to have alcohol to de-stress after a busy week looking after someone, or maybe you don't drink but the person you care for does. But it can be hard to really know if you or someone you care for is drinking too much, especially if it's something they've always done, or if it doesn't seem to affect them. If you, someone you love or someone you care for is :
Regularly missing appointments, work or school due to being drunk or hungover
Binge drinking - drinking a lot of alcohol of all different kinds often and in one sitting Having to drink large amounts to get a desired effect/to feel better Having to drink alcohol in the morning or in public places to 'get through the day'
Then it might be time to cut down or seek help and support. How to cut down your drinking? How do you help someone to cut down their drinking?
The first step to cutting down drinking is noticing how much you or someone else really drinks.
Next - try and rewire your thinking. Everytime you or someone you care for would usually drink an alcoholic drink, have a soft drink instead.
You can even try doing a month free of alcohol - sometimes it's easier when you set yourself a challenge, it might motivate you and others to hold off on alcohol and see how long you can go without.
Where can I find advice, information and support on alcohol addiction or caring for someone with an alcohol addiction?
There are great resources and organisations out there with information, advice and support for alcohol addiction and misuse. If you are worried about your own drinking, check out TheMix.org.uk, or The Childrens Society, for self-help information and resources for professional help. If you're worried or concerned about someone else's drinking, or care for someone with an alcohol addiction, check out Adfam or AL-Anon UK. If you are a carer in Wiltshire, contact Carer Support Wiltshire for local advice and resources, or if you are a carer outside, click here to find your local carer service that can help you. Remember - you are not alone. Reach out, speak to someone. We are here for you.