Harmful levels of drinking are misunderstood in our society because of the lack of information, understanding and awareness out there on the subject. Alcohol is also ingrained within our culture, heralded as being positive, beneficial and sometimes even deemed necessary for social interaction. I believe this is why discussing alcohol and its problems can be difficult to do because it makes for uncomfortable thoughts and feelings for those who regularly consume alcohol for pleasure. If you enjoy something and it is highly regarded within society, it can be hard to reconcile negative associations and facts.
UK Government Research published in 2016 showed statistics from England in 2014 which indicated over that over 10 million people, over 18% of the total population at that time, were drinking more than the recommended safe limit of alcohol for health on a weekly basis (over 14 units per week) and 1.9 million of those were drinking at levels deemed to be a high risk factor for ill-health (over 35 units for women and over 50 units for men per week).
What this looks like in drinks
To bring those statistics to life, one bottle of 750ml 13.5% (abv) wine is equal to 10 units. Therefore, if you consume 1 ½ bottles of wine per week you are consuming more than the recommended safe level of alcohol. One pint of 3.6% (abv) lager, beer or cider is equal to 2 units. Therefore, if you consume more than 7 pints in a week, 1 pint per night for seven nights or 2 pints per night four or more times per week, you are drinking more than the recommended safe level of alcohol.
We understand and are told that smoking cigarettes on daily basis is bad for our health, as is being overweight. However, seldom are we reminded how bad alcohol is for our health on a daily basis. The following is taken from Professor David Nutt's book 'Drink?'
This makes for uncomfortable understanding for many people in our society because many people regularly drink more than this, and it is socially acceptable to do so despite being proven to be harmful to health and longevity.