The references below were printed December 2016

Page No.




65% of all alcohol-related deaths are male

Office for National Statistics (2016) Alcohol-related deaths 2014; Alcohol-related deaths by sex, age group and individual cause of death, UK constituent countries, deaths registered 2001 to 2014. [Online] Available from:  [Accessed 20/05/2016]



Alcohol kills someone nearly every hour in the UK and the majority (65%) are men

As above


The UK’s Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) say that to keep risks from alcohol

low, it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis

Department of Health (2016) Alcohol consumption: advice on low risk drinking  [Online] Available from: [Accessed 18/11/2016]


4 in ten men (39%) risk developing some sort of health problem caused by alcohol



Based on %age of men drinking above 14 units/week guideline.

Source: IPSOS Mori (2016), Drinkaware Monitor 2015: UK Adults experience of and views on cutting down, pp 37
Available at:



half of all violent crimes (53%) are alcohol-related;

nearly two-thirds of violent crime with male victims (62%) is alcohol-related;

more than a third of domestic violence incidents (36%) are alcohol-related.;

Office for National Statistics (2015), Focus on violent crime and sexual offences [Online] Available from:


Even a couple of drinks can interfere with the normal sleep process. Alcohol

can send you straight into deep sleep meaning you miss the first stage of

sleep called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep which is essential for memory,

creativity and learning. Usually, you’ll have six to seven cycles of REM sleep a

night and wake up feeling refreshed. If you've been drinking you'll typically

have only one to two.

Ebrahim, I.O. et al. (2013) Alcohol and Sleep I: Effects on Normal Sleep, Alcohol Clin Exp Res, 37(4):539-49. doi: 10.1111/acer.12006. [Accessed on 09.05.2016]


As your brain slows down, it can, if you drink a lot, stop laying down new

memories. That’s why you can wake up the next day with a ‘blank’ about what

you said, did and even where you were. Since frequent heavy sessions can

damage the brain, black-outs are your brain’s way of telling you you have a

drinking problem.

White, Aaron M. "What happened? Alcohol, memory blackouts, and the brain." Alcohol Research & Health, Spring 2003, p. 186+. Academic OneFile, Accessed 18 Nov. 2016. Available from



For example, it can cause at least seven types of cancer including bowel

cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer and cancers throughout the digestive

system including the mouth, throat and oesophagus. Any drink of any sort

increases your cancer risk, especially if you smoke. Tobacco and alcohol are

more dangerous together than separately

International Agency for Research on Cancer (1988), IARC Monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans: Alcohol Drinking, IARC 1988 [Online] Available form:


It depends on the individual but

if you’re regularly drinking more than 7.5 units a day, you’re at real risk [of alcoholic fatty liver disease]

Seitz et al, Effect of chronic alcohol consumption on the development and progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), Hepatobiliary Surg Nutr. 2015 Jun; 4(3): 147–151.

doi:  10.3978/j.issn.2304-3881.2014.12.01. Downloaded from:


Over time, these damage the liver which can allow waste

products from the guts to enter the liver. This is called alcoholic hepatitis.

Hartmann, Seebauer and Schable 2015 Alcoholic liver disease: the gut microbiome and liver cross talk. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2015 May;39(5):763-75. [Online] Available from



Cirrhosis is the third stage of liver disease. If alcoholic hepatitis is not

treated, the scarring becomes so widespread, the liver can no longer do its job of removing toxins from the blood. This means every organ in the body receives toxic blood. Cirrhosis is the main cause of alcohol-related deaths.

Office for National Statistics (2016) Alcohol-related deaths 2014; Alcohol-related deaths by sex, age group and individual cause of death, UK constituent countries, deaths registered 2001 to 2014. [Online] Available from:  [Accessed 20/05/2016]



Drinking even a little alcohol can cause your stomach to produce too much acid. This can lead to gastritis – inflammationof the stomach lining – and eventually to the lining being wor n away to cause

internal bleeding.

Cleary and Klein (1997) Alcoholic Gastritis Pediatrics in Review [Online] Available from:


A gram of alcohol contains seven calories

Schutz 2000, Role of substrate utilization and thermogenesis on body-weight control with particular reference to alcohol, Proc Nutr Soc. 2000 Nov;59(4):511-7.[Online] Available from:


What’s more, after you drink alcohol,

your body prioritises getting rid of it.

This means it slows down other

processes such as fat-burning.



Plus, if your liver is

breaking down alcohol, it can’t

produce so much glucose which will

leave you with low levels of blood


Zhen Huang, and Åke Sjöholm. 
"Ethanol acutely stimulates islet blood flow, amplifies insulin secretion, and induces hypoglycemia via NO and vagally mediated mechanisms" 
Endocrinology (2008); 149: 232-236. [Online] Available from:


The long-term benefits of exercise are reduced by drinking too. For example,

it’s far harder to build muscle as alcohol slows down the synthesis of proteins

Bianco et al (2014), Alcohol consumption and hormonal alterations related to muscle hypertrophy: a review, Nutrition and Metabolism [Online] Available from:


Long-term, alcohol reduces the release of testosterone and other sex

hormones, makes your testicles smaller, reduces healthy sperm production

and increases your risk of longer-term sexual problems. Heavy drinkers are

30% more likely to have erection problems lasting a month or more.

Aicken, Nardone and Mercer (2011) Alcohol misuse, sexual risk behaviour and adverse sexual health outcomes: evidence from Britain's national probability sexual behaviour surveys, J Public Health, 33(2): 262-271. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdq056 [Accessed on 09.05.2016]


Alcohol narrows your arteries meaning the blood has a smaller space to get

through and your heart has to work harder. This increases the blood pressure.

Reducing the amount you drink will reduce your blood pressure


Xin, X., He, J., Frontini, M.G., Ogden, L.G., Motsamai, O.I. and Whelton, P.K. (2001) Effects of alcohol reduction on blood pressure: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Hypertension38(5): 1112-1117. [Accessed on 09.05.2016]




The heart can also be directly affected.

The toxicity of alcohol weakens heart

muscle over time making it more difficult for the heart to pump blood. As a result, the heart starts to expand to hold the extra blood. It b ecomes thinned and enlarged and eventually stops beating properly. As blood collects in the heart’s chambers, the risk of a clot increases. Blood clots can cause breathing problems, an inconsistent blood supply, dizziness, weakness, and even a stroke.

Larsson, S.C., Drca, N. and Wolk, A. (2014) Alcohol consumption and risk of atrial fibrillation: a prospective study and dose-response meta-analysis. Journal of the American College of Cardiology64(3): 281-289. [Accessed on 09.05.2016]


Djoussé L, Gaziano JM. Alcohol Consumption and Heart Failure: A Systematic Review. Current atherosclerosis reports. 2008;10(2):117-120.[Online] Available from



People who drink more than 35 units/week are four times more likely to have a

flare-up of acute pancreatitis than those who never drink. Over time, this will

cause permanent damage to your pancreas: chronic pancreatitis.

Kristiansen at al 2008, Risk of Pancreatitis According to Alcohol Drinking Habits: A Population-based Cohort Study; Am. J. Epidemiol. (2008) 168 (8):932-937.doi: 10.1093/aje/kwn222. Downloaded from


Drinking can

cause depression and depression can cause drinking.

Boden, J. M. and Fergusson, D. M. (2011), Alcohol and depression. Addiction, 106: 906–914. [Accessed on 09.05.2016]

Bellos, S. et al. (2013) ‘Cross-cultural patterns of the association between varying levels of alcohol consumption and the common mental disorders of depression and anxiety: Secondary analysis of the WHO Collaborative Study on Psychological Problems in General Health Care’, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 133: 825-831. [Accessed on 09.05.2016]



Regular drinking lowers levels of serotonin in your brain

Lovinger (1997), Serotonin’s role in alcohol’s effects on the brain, Alcohol Health Res World. 1997;21(2):114-20 [Online] Available from:


Alcohol was believed to have a protective effect against heart disease.

However, the Chief Medical Officers’ recent review of the evidence found that the protective effects were not so strong. In fact, they were significant only for women over 55.

Holmes, J. et al. (2016) 'Mortality and morbidity risks from alcohol consumption in the UK: Analyses using the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model (v.2.7) to inform the UK Chief Medical Officers' review of the UK lower risk drinking guidelines', ScHARR, University of Sheffield. [Accessed on 09.05.2016]!/file/Drinking_Guidelines_Final_Report_Published.pdf


Experts reckon that any protective effect from alcohol – specifically red wine

– is not due to the ethanol but another group of chemicals called polyphenols.

Effects of Wine, Alcohol and Polyphenols on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: Evidences from Human Studies

Gemma Chiva-Blanch, Sara Arranz, Rosa M. Lamuela-Raventos, Ramon Estruch

Alcohol and Alcoholism May 2013, 48 (3) 270-277; DOI: 10.1093/alcalc/agt007



The good news is that you can find polyphenols in plenty of oth er foods: dark chocolate, cocoa powder, hazelnuts, chestnuts, almonds, green and black olives, sage, rosemary and thyme

J Pérez-Jiménez (2010) Identification of the 100 richest dietary sources of polyphenols: an application of the Phenol-Explorer European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2010)  [Online] Available from:


You may be thinking of a much-publicised study published in 2010.

Holahan, Charles J., et al. "Late‐life alcohol consumption and 20‐year mortality." Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 34.11 (2010): 1961-1971. [Online] Available from:


A recent systematic review reanalysed the data from 87 studies

on moderate alcohol and mortality and found that any protective effect

disappeared once they corrected for the quality of the studies.

Stockwell, Tim, et al. "Do “moderate” drinkers have reduced mortality risk? A systematic review and meta-analysis of alcohol consumption and all-cause mortality." Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs 77.2 (2016): 185-198. [Online] Available from:


Giving up for a period will help you better understand how alcohol fits into

your life. It will also reset your tolerance level