According to a recent report, South Africa came in sixth place among countries with a high alcohol consumption level

From #WineWednesday to Phuza Thursday, does your day revolve around cracking open an ice cold one after work? Are you looking forward to that glass of wine a little too much?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) annual global status report on alcohol and health for 2018, South Africa ranked sixth among a host of other countries when it came to alcohol consumption.

South Africans consume an average of 30 litres of alcohol in a single year. That’s a lot of booze.

Alcohol affects more than just your body

Alcohol use has detrimental effects on one’s well-being with excessive alcohol consumption accountable for 18% of suicides, 27% of traffic injuries and 18% of interpersonal violence cases in the world.

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Excessive alcohol consumption also contributes to diseases like liver cirrhosis, mouth cancer, pancreatitis, tuberculosis, colorectal cancer, breast cancer and hypertensive heart disease.

Heavy drinking may also lead to the excessive use of prescription medication like opioids, or other forms of illegal substances.

How does alcohol impact your life?

Apart from your physical well-being, excessive drinking drastically affects families and society as a whole.

This is why alcoholic beverages are referred to and are subject to a “sin tax” – to effectively making up for the cost for the damage to society. But does it really help?

You may become more violent at home, or be the victim of abuse. Relationships may suffer, and your physical and mental health will suffer.

At work, you may find yourself unable to be productive due to a hangover or sleep deprivation from excessive alcohol and substance abuse. You may also call in sick more often which could lead to losing your job.

If you have a problem, share with a friend or trusted family member and get help. Employers provide EAP programmes that also assist.

Do you have a drinking problem?

We live in a stressful, ‘always on’ environment. We’re juggling our career and our personal life, and we may feel like we always need to perform optimally.

You may not know how to deal with the additional stress you are experiencing, which is typically when you might turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism.

“We have seen an increase in anxiety and depression which correlates closely to excessive abuse of alcohol and other substances,” says Craig Comrie, CE and Principal Officer at Profmed.

Better than the bottle

Instead of reaching for the bottle, Comrie suggests these healthy ways to beat stress:

  • Work out – Nothing helps boost your mood more than the endorphin rush after a good sweat session.
  • Sleep – It’s hard to face a stressful day when you start the day exhausted, so make sure you clock enough sleep every night.
  • Start a hobby – Whether it’s restoring old cars, painting or needlework, immersing yourself in a creative hobby is a great way to ‘switch off’ and de-stress.
  • Socialise – Making time for friends and family is a way to beat loneliness and they can be a huge support in times of stress.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.