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  • Deanne Apostolou

Am I drinking too much? 6 questions to ask yourself about your alcohol habits

Spirit Bottles on bar shelves - lots of them!

Did you know that drinking alcohol can increase your risk of getting various cancers? Just one extra drink each day can increase the chance of breast cancer by 10%!

In my medical herbalist practice in Newcastle, I’ve noticed that more women, especially women in their 40’s and 50’s, and older are drinking more and more. And drinking increased further during lockdown.

Alcohol is a toxin

As well as metabolising our food and liquids, our liver also breaks down toxins.

The problem with alcohol is that when the liver breaks it down it forms a substance called acetaldehyde – which is even more toxic - and has been shown to damage DNA.

Apart from increasing your risk of various cancers, alcohol can also cause many other serious health issues such as heart damage, stroke, osteoporosis, liver damage and digestive problems.

Alcohol also impairs our immunity. It creates inflammation in the body. So, if you have any pre-existing aches and pains these will be heightened the morning after.

There is more and more research being released on the deleterious effects of alcohol and ideally, we should drink very little. But let’s be realistic, alcohol is linked to a lot of our social activities.

Nearly all of us are guilty of drinking too much every now and then. But it seems these days “wine o’clock” is becoming an epidemic and it’s very easy to be drinking more than you realise.

So, how do you know when you’re drinking too much?

The exact amount is different for everybody, but here are 6 questions you can ask yourself. Try and answer them as truthfully as you can:

  1. Am I drinking more glasses more often?

  2. Am I having at least 2 alcohol-free days a week?

  3. Can I manage if I don’t have a drink every day?

  4. What are my reasons for feeling like I need to have a drink every day?

  5. Does my personality change when I drink…or when I don’t have a drink?

  6. Am I binge drinking on the weekends?

Some tips for cutting down your alcohol consumption


If you think you are drinking a bit too much, try cutting down by substituting a glass or two with one of the these:

  • Kombucha (sparkles in a wine glass, and very low calorie!)

  • Coconut water, Mineral or soda water with slices of your favourite fruit and fresh mint. You can muddle them to release their flavour. Your gut will thank you for it!

  • Cut your wine with soda, mineral or tonic water.

There are also some interesting new non-alcoholic spirits available. You can find some here: and here

Alcohol-free days

Introduce alcohol-free days (AFDs) into your week. Aim for 2 AFDs a week to begin with.

Are you worried about any of your answers?

If you are worried about any of your answers – please know that there is a lot of help available. Talk to your GP or contact one of these help lines:

You can also contact me for a holistic health review and some personalised tips to help you feel fabulous every day!


Note: This content is provided for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical/health advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, please consult a suitably qualified healthcare professional.

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