Long hours at work, stressful relationships or simply a hectic social life. There are so many reasons that men in their late 20s to early 40s are spending more time with a drink in their hands.
Over a third of men are drinking more than the 21 units a week recommended by the Government.
Professional men are drinking the most. A quarter drink on five or more days a week – and increasingly that's happening at home in front of the TV as well as in the pub.
But is there really a problem here? You're not having a pint for breakfast or swigging out of a hip flask in the park at lunchtime. You're open about your drinking, doing it with friends and colleagues – sometimes it's business, sometimes definitely pleasure.
You're pretty healthy, you go to the gym and play sport. And, bar the odd fry up on a hangover, you eat pretty well. So there really isn't anything to worry about, is there?
If celebrating, commiserating, socialising and relaxing all go hand in hand with a drink, it can be hard to stick to a safe level of drinking.
Over a third of men are drinking more than the 21 units a week recommended by the Government. When you're regularly drinking too much it will have an impact. Problems range from affecting your ability at sport to increasing your risk of cancer.
Alcohol related illnesses are not just an old man's problem. Doctors report increasing cases of liver disease in men in their 30s and 40s. Your heart, pancreas, oesophagus and colon are all at risk of damage, and you're more likely to suffer with problems sleeping, anxiety and depression.
And it's not just your health that you need to worry about. Men who drink heavily are more likely to end up victims – and perpetrators – of crime. So it may be time to think about what you're drinking.
Your liver; While rates of liver disease are falling in the rest of Europe, they're rising in the UK, particularly in Scotland. Liver disease has traditionally affected drinkers in middle age. Now figures show there has been an eight-fold increase in the disease in men aged between 35 and 44. You don’t need to be an alcoholic to be affected, regular drinking can put you at risk.
Your heart; Alcohol can cause high blood pressure, which can lead to problems including heart disease and strokes. When you binge drink you can cause abnormal heart rhythms and regular heavy drinking can lead to a condition that causes your heart to become enlarged.
Cancer; More than two or three drinks a day and your risk increases of getting cancer of the gullet, throat, voice box and bowel.
Infertility; Don't switch off or assume this is something to print out for your wife or partner, male infertility accounts for about a third of couples' problems conceiving.
Alcohol can destroy the sperm-producing cells in the testicles, and drinking regularly can affect sperm count and the quality of the sperm. Then there's the negative effect booze can have on your libido and ability to perform in the bedroom in the first place...
Crime and violence; There are 13,000 alcohol-fuelled violent incidents a week round pubs and clubs in the UK. Around 40% of accident and emergency admissions are alcohol-related and as many as 70% between midnight and five in the morning.
Too much alcohol can make you aggressive and violent, and situations that would have been easily solved – with a calm word or simply by walking away – escalate when there's booze involved.
Tips to Moderate Your Drinking
- If you cut down the units you're drinking each week, you'll soon start seeing the benefits. You'll have more time, more money, a slimmer waist, better memory, more energy and perform better in bed, the gym and on the sports field. So, try some of our tips for smarter drinking...
- Have a night off. If you've got a big weekend planned, take it easy during the week. And when you do go out, start drinking later – don't rush for a pint straight after work.
- Not feeling confident about a situation and think drinking will help? Then stick to one or two – chances are your judgement will be well off the mark if you have any more than that.
- Avoid buying in large rounds. There's pressure to keep up with everyone else and you can ending up having a drink when you don't even want one.
- Choose your venue. If you're trying to drink less, make the location conducive to a more mellow night.
- Watch what you drink at home. It can be much more difficult to keep track of how much you’re drinking than when you’re out. That whisky you poured yourself might be a quadruple measure rather than the single measure you’d get in the local pub.
- Find other ways to relax. If the first thing you do after a stressful day at work is head for the pub, break the routine. Read the paper, a book, watch a film, turn up the stereo – they'll all help take your mind off a day in the office. Or do some exercise, just 15 minutes jogging or playing sport can give you a natural high.
*Information & Statistics sourced from Drinkaware.co.uk (Opens in a new window or downloads a file).