Drink less and gain more

The HSE launch Ask About Alcohol website

Written by Emily Garber


The HSE launched a new interactive website with information about the risks of drinking and the benefits of cutting back.

Ask About Alcohol has a lot of information about how alcohol affects your health and mental wellbeing. Its interactive features include a drink calculator along with graphics and figures that make it easy to understand what you are putting into your body.

Launching the new website Minister Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy said, “I am delighted that we now have a high-quality and engaging source of evidence-based information on alcohol, provided by the HSE in partnership with our wider health community. Ultimately, together, we want to reduce the enormous burden of alcohol related harm on Irish families.”

Drinking is a social norm that is practiced in many cultures. Whether you are Irish, British, or American, you hear phrases every day like: “Let's meet for drinks.” “Want to have a wine night?”  “I'll bring the beer.” It's no wonder that the drinking culture is booming and the consumers are losing money, energy, and sleep.

The facts:

  • In Ireland, the standard drink has about 10 grams of pure alcohol in it.
  • In The UK, the standard drink has about 8 grams of pure alcohol in it.
  • In America, the standard drink has about 14 grams of pure alcohol in it. 

Are your drinking habits equivalent to the average amount of drinks for your gender?

  • Females: 11 standard drinks in a week
  • Males: 17 standard drinks in a week
  • 11 drinks a week for women and 17 drinks a week for men are considered low-risk drinking habits. But are you really at low risk?

What is at stake because of drinking?

Your sleep and energy 

Even if you get 8 hours of sleep a night after drinking, you will likely still feel tired when you wake up because alcohol interferes with your sleep patterns.
The lack of energy you feel the morning after drinking isn’t uncommon, it can take your body hours to get back to normal after a nigh of drinking.

Your money 

  • If you are like the average female and drink 11 standard drinks a week, you are spending about €66 a week, €286 a month, and €3432 a year.
  • If you are like the average male and drink 17 standard drinks a week, you are spending about €88 a week, €381 a month, and €4572 a year.

Your physical health 

  • 3.5 pints of beer are equivalent to 3 slices of pepperoni pizza
  • Drinking alcohol 48 hours before performing physical exercise reduces your body's ability to produce the sugar that it needs to turn into energy
  • Reduce muscle build up
  • Dry hair and skin, weight gain, acid reflux, heart and liver problems.  

Your mental health

  • People often times forget that alcohol is a depressant because for many of us it helps us relax and have fun for a few hours. But in reality, alcohol changes the brain's chemistry.
  • People who drink heavily are more likely to have depression
  • Alcohol dependence is three times more likely among people with depression than those who aren’t depressed.

Next time someone proposes to go out for drinks, to have a wine night, or tells you they will bring the beer, think about the long-term effects that alcohol has on your body for only a few hours of fun. Learn more here at askaboutalcohol.ie.

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