Cheat Tips to Avoid the Pitfalls of Excessive Drinking

People jokingly say that businesses operating weight-loss programs can never go bust due to the high rate of failure among people who try to diet. It is now three months into the New Year and many people have already given up on their resolutions to quit smoking, cut down on drinking or lose weight due to stress, withdrawal symptoms and the need to socialize with colleagues.

It is also said that men are social drinkers and women emotional drinkers. But in a culture where drinking is an important means of cementing friendships and networking, it is often hard to avoid imbibing. Some people complain that having to drink alcohol too often, especially under pressure from their bosses or business partners, stresses them out more than their job itself.

Many habitual drinkers who enjoy drinking and come to rely on it to help them work better fall prey to borderline alcoholism. Those who drink at least three or four times a week, and who consume the equivalent of one bottle of soju or more each time, may want to consider some serious lifestyle changes to escape the trappings of dependence. The same holds true for those who have repeatedly been told by families, friends or doctors that they need to cut down.

As always, moderation is the key. There are ways to drink less and more healthily even in unavoidable social situations where imbibing is expected. First, make sure you eat before you go out. Drinking on an empty stomach puts much more pressure on both this organ and the liver and means the alcohol is absorbed faster. It also slows the rate at which the body produces glucose, which can lead to serious hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels.

Second, it is rarely wise to mix different types of alcohol, even though many Koreans like to combine soju, beer, whisky, sprite and energy drinks in a single night. However, this mixing can dilute the flavor of alcohol and make it taste weaker than it is, leading you to consume more than you otherwise would.

Third, try to refrain from draining your glass. Drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short span of time can lead to memory loss and blackouts as it damages the brain.

Fourth, keep drinking water throughout the night as this will help discharge the alcohol from the body and prevent dehydration.

Finally, it is worth identifying the factors that lead you to drink excessively and addressing them. For example, when you have a meeting with people who tend to drink a lot, you may want to consider arriving a little late. You could cut back on the number of work or social dinners you attend where lots of alcohol will be consumed, and make sure you have things planned after dinner to keep a lid on how much alcohol you consume.

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 03, 2014 08:45 KST