What is ‘grey area boozing’ and how do you know if you have a problem?

THE coronavirus lockdowns changed many of our relationships with alcohol, some of which we have continued now that restrictions have ended.

But if your drinking has slowly crept up then you may have entered a 'grey area' when it comes to boozing.

Grey area drinking isn't a medical term but it's one experts in the field have long used for those who have questioned their relationship with booze.

The NHS says that men and women should be having no more than 14 units of alcohol a week.

To put that into perspective, one unit is a small glass of wine, while a pint of low strength beer is two units.

It was previously revealed that Brits had boozed their way through the Covid pandemic and sales of boozed soared by 55 per cent when people were forced to stay indoors.

Data also revealed that deaths due to booze soared 20 per cent during the pandemic.

For most people, drinking starts to become a problem if it impacts their relationships, work or how they think and feel.

But others can function with booze and one expert says that 'grey area drinking' is the space between two extremes.

Health coach Jolene Park said one extreme is someone with severe drinking, while the other is a person who only drinks a few times a year.

She told the Huffington Post: "The reality is most people don’t drink in either one of those extreme categories. They drink in between that, which is the grey area.”

“My clients will say to me all the time that they function really well. Often they don’t have external consequences or stories, but they have internal questioning.

"That right there, where there’s that inner knowing, that’s the first thing to pay attention to.”

Grey area drinking really depends on the individual and some might find that they only over drink in social situations, while others might find they are drinking in a new way to before.

This could mean using alcohol as a coping mechanism or as a release.

Many people may not think they have an issue as they don't identify with the stereotype of someone who has a drinking problem.

HELP AT HAND

If you think you might have an issue with drinking then it's important you take action and seek the help you need.

Rochelle Knowles, certified life coach specialising in habits and health said that many people are reflecting on their relationship with alcohol.

The coach said that as this festive season is the first in while that feels 'normal' there could be the temptation to get worked up in the excitment.

This could be dangerous for those in the grey area who drink mostly in social situations and suffer from 'hangxiety' – when you drink so much you feel anxious the next day about your actions the night before.

She said that before hitting the booze, you should think about how you want to feel in the next two months.

You should also question what you could achieve instead of being hungover and the benefits of keeping good habits – such as drinking in moderation.

She added: "These will help you re-assess your priorities and make better drinking decisions."

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