Alcohol Awareness Week
Simran Deo

Lead Physician, Simran has been providing stellar healthcare for the last 18 years. She shared with us her invaluable knowledge of the effects of alcohol consumption and how we can have a healthier relationship with alcohol.  

Is alcohol consumption actually harmful? 

Most of us love to have fun, let our hair down, and have the worries of the world disappear for a while, and having a drink can sometimes do just the trick.  

But what effect is this having on our bodies and lives?  

Impact on our bodies 

  • Alcohol is high in calories which means it can lead to weight gain. 
  • The liver processes alcohol, and over time, heavy drinking can lead to conditions such as fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis. 
    • Cirrhosis is a severe condition where healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue. This can lead to liver failure and has more recently been found to be one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. 
    • Women are more likely to get Cirrhosis than men, even with just a little consumption of alcohol. 
  • Increased blood pressure which in turn can cause a heart attack or stroke. 
  • Alterations in the rhythm of the heart and the way it pumps.
  • Reduced sensitivity to insulin which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. 
  • Symptoms of heartburn or indigestion which can be an indication of inflammation of the stomach lining and can lead to ulcers. 
  • Alcohol has also been linked to several types of cancer: ovarian, breast, colon, stomach, mouth, throat, oesophagus, and liver. 
  • Having a little ‘tipple’ in the evenings is used by many as a method of stress relief, but it is actually a depressant and can lead to an overall increase in anxiety.  
  • Reduced memory recall and concentration difficulties.  

Impact on our lives 

  • Alcohol addiction can take priority over daily life which can affect attendance and performance in areas such as work which may lead to a spiralling circle of job loss and further repercussions.  
  • Social isolation as alcohol consumption can cause changes in behaviour, potentially leading to arguments with family and friends and putting strain on a relationship.  
  • Financial burden with the cost of alcohol continually rising.   

How can we make a change? 

Change is hard, especially if alcohol has been your main coping mechanism for most of your life. The European Journal of Psychology states it takes on average, 66 days to change a habit, not an easy feat, but definitely worth it.  

Here are some things that may help: 

  1. Leaning on other coping methods to improve wellbeing, such as deep-breathing, meditation, exercise, and journalling which can help manage stress. 
  2. Like any big change in life, it’s always best to make a plan before you stop and set a limit on how much you want to cut down.  
  3. Moral support always helps. Let everyone know your plan and find out if you have a friend or family member who also wants to reduce their consumption. 
  4. Set a budget to spend on alcohol. 
  5. Avoid drinking in rounds as this can often lead to you drinking more, and remember to take small sips, your drink will last longer, and you’ll save money! 
  6. Ordering a smaller drink or adding a splash of tonic water to white wine can also help the same drink go further. 
  7. There’s also a large number of alcohol-free drinks available now such as alcohol-free beer, wine, and gin that are similar in taste and often contain fewer calories. 

Cutting down alcohol consumption may be a challenge, but you’ll soon notice the benefits, so look forward to brighter skin, more energy, easier weight loss, and better moods!  



Start your career
with Bupa today


There's lots on offer at Bupa. Find the right role for you on our Job Area's page.

Talent Community

Join our talent community and we'll let you know when a role that might be right for you comes up.

Early Careers

We believe that everyone has the potential to make a real difference in their career. That’s why we offer a range of early careers opportunities, from graduate schemes to apprenticeships.