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Don’t let your last drink, be the last one ever - By Elim Clinic 18 Feb 2017

Rather drink nothing if you have to drive, is the advice for responsible drinking this festive season.

Mrs Sorika de Swardt, Elim Clinic Addiction Consultant said that having a good time and enjoying a few drinks has become synonymous in our society. Alcohol is supposed to be enjoyable and relax you, but don’t try and quench a thirst with Alcohol because this will lead to gulping way more drinks much faster than what the body can deal with.

Some ways to limit your alcohol intake during long hours of socialization are as follows: · Drink a glass of water in between alcoholic drinks. · To avoid the constant pressure for a full glass, dilute alcohol with water or ice. · Don’t mix or top up your drinks as you cannot keep track of quantities. · Stick to familiar drinks of which you know what the effect on you will be. · De Swardt said the best way to keep track of what you are drinking is to pour your own drinks and to finish a drink before having another one. · Ensure that you know the recommended safe limits for your gender, age and weight.

Contrary to popular belief, a proper meal does not sober you up. This meal would only protect your stomach lining but does not dilute the alcohol. De Swardt said each body reacts differently to alcohol and drugs, as it depends on you gender, age, period of time you have been drinking and the use of medication with alcohol. The legal drinking limit in South Africa allows 0.05 grams of alcohol per 100ml in your blood. People reach this sooner than they realise. For an average male this would be after one and a half drinks and after one drink for an average woman if a drink equals 340ml beer, 125ml wine or one metric tot of spirits.

The average body of 68kg or more breaks down alcohol at a rate of one drink per 75 minutes. Not even black coffee or a cold shower would speed up the process.

Because people don’t necessarily feel intoxicated they are not aware of the effects the substance has on the functioning of the brain and central nervous system, as well as co-ordination reaction time, balance and vision. They also have problems with depth perception and the ability to judge distance.

”Imagine someone in this state behind the wheel of a car” e Swardt says. You definitely don’t have to be drunk to exceed the legal limit for your functioning to be impaired,” De Swardt said. Drink responsibly tis Festive season, or your last drink for the night, might really be the last drink ever.