Since being published in 2011, there has been substantial new research on alcohol use and the physical, mental, and social effects. Health Canada has funded the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction to update Canada’s LRDG to reflect this new evidence.
In Canada (and many other countries), women of childbearing age (i.e., between the ages 18 and 35) are consuming more alcohol than ever before. Despites the potential health and social consequences associated with alcohol consumption, its use is increasingly being normalized as part of a stress management regime to cope with day-to-day life.
While engaged in my research, I often reflect on questions such as why do people feel that they need alcohol? What does alcohol mean to people in the context of their individual lives and circumstances? What fuels someone’s desire to drink? My own research, as well as popular culture writing such as Ann Dowsett Johnston’s book Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, has made me think long and hard about how alcohol use in society is normalized.
Reducing your alcohol consumption can have a big impact on your physical and mental health. For women who are pregnant or at risk for becoming pregnant, going alcohol-free is important for their health and that of their future child. Whether you are committing to reducing your alcohol consumption this January, or you are pregnant and going alcohol-free, here are five tips to help you achieve your goals.
Stress is a normal part of our daily lives and certain amounts of stress are important to help us function. Small doses of stress help us meet deadlines, get to places on time, and prepare for important events. However, long-term stress can be harmful and can lead to mental and physical health problems, like depression, substance use issues, and stroke.
Awareness and support are important to prevent FASD. We’ve created a new two-page handout that talks about alcohol, pregnancy, and mental health during COVID-19. We are asking women and partners to reduce their risk of FASD by going alcohol free if they are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. If they are not trying to get pregnant, we are reminding women that it is important to use reliable contraception.
Prenatal alcohol exposure has the potential to result in a range of complex physical, mental, and behavioural disabilities, known collectively as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Although alcohol exposure through the consumption of breast milk does not cause FASD, it has the potential to negatively impact infant and child development.
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