Weekly safe drinking limits may be tightened due to growing concerns about the levels of alcohol consumption at home during the pandemic.
Doctors and officials behind the HSE’s alcohol program are said to be re-examining guidance on how much people can drink in a week to stay within safe limits.
How the celebrations of St. Patrick’s Week have led to this over the past four days Scenes of binge drinking, the changing patterns in which people consume alcohol — especially after the stay-at-home phase of the pandemic — will be reviewed.
The guidelines were last revised in 2009 and currently allow for a weekly maximum of 17 standard drinks for men (170g pure alcohol) and 11 for women (110g pure alcohol). This must also include two non-alcoholic days.
A standard drink here is a pub liter of spirits, a small glass of wine, a half pint of beer, or an alcopop.
dr Garrett McGovern, a Dublin-based alcohol consultant, said: “I have found from personal experience that the Covid-19 pandemic has helped to expose an alcohol problem that was present but not always visible.
“Maybe you have someone before the pandemic who goes home from work and has a bottle of wine. When they first started working from home, they preferred the timing of their first drink. Normally they would be out by 5pm, but now they were home. It happened a few hours earlier. It might even (start) by noon or lunchtime.
“They switched from one bottle of wine to two and got through earlier.
“Another problem was that the stress of Covid-19 was invading people.
“Most people who drink badly drink at home.”
dr McGovern said he believes the current low-risk guidelines are not where the problem lies.
“If you drink sensibly, alcohol isn’t something to be afraid of,” he added.
“It’s not uncommon that I see people drinking seven to eight times the limit.
“We drink too much in this country and we take it easy.”
one of dr Kathryn Allen conducted at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin in December 2020 found 41 per cent of patients felt they had drunk more since the pandemic began.
Boredom and loneliness were cited as two of the main reasons for the increase in alcohol consumption, and there was no socioeconomic difference.
Almost a third said they drank more than three times a week, and 66 percent said they consumed more alcohol than the recommended low-risk limit.
The study in the Irish Medical Journal says healthcare providers should be aware of the potential increase in new diagnoses of alcohol use disorders and alcohol-related liver disease.
Alcohol Action Ireland’s Eunan McKinney said his organization welcomed the proposed review given the “significant shift towards increased and unrestricted drinking at home during the pandemic”.
He referred to “recent scientific evidence on risk, particularly for cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease, heart failure, high blood pressure and stroke, and attributable cancers.
“Citizens have a right to accuracy Information and timely advice about alcohol consumption and its impact on our health and well-being.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/alcohol-consumption-advice-to-be-re-examined-over-at-home-drinking-trends-that-emerged-from-pandemic-41468844.html Advice on alcohol consumption should be reviewed with regard to the drinking trends at home resulting from the pandemic