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Reducing Alcohol Consumption

How much alcohol is it safe to drink? 

The Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines recommends that adults, both men and women, drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. This is equivalent to approximately 6 pints of medium strength (4%) beer, 6 glasses of wine (13%, 175ml) or 14 measures of a spirit. Try not to ‘save up’ your units, it’s best to spread them throughout the week.  

To keep the short-term risk low, you should limit the amount of alcohol that you drink in one session and try to drink more slowly, alternating with food and/or water. A good way of trying to cut down your alcohol consumption is to have at least a few alcohol-free days per week. 

More information on this can be found by reading the UK Chief Medical Officers’ Low Risk Drinking Guidelines.  

How can too much alcohol affect me? 

The long-term effects of regularly drinking more than 14 units of alcohol per week include cancers of the mouth, throat and breasts, stroke, heart disease, liver disease, brain damage and damage to the nervous system. Research shows that high-risk drinking can have a negative impact on your mental health, with strong links between alcohol misuse, depression and suicide. 

Given its quick effect on the brain, the short-term impacts of drinking too much in one session include memory lapses, loss of motor coordination, slurred speech, a higher risk of accidents and injuries, misjudging potentially risky or dangerous situations and losing self-control. It’s also important to be aware that drinking alcohol, even a low-risk amount, can affect you the following day, such as lowering your concentration span, causing impaired memory and recognition and poorer psychomotor abilities. Please be aware of this information when you are drinking alcohol the evening before a workday. 

Self-checker & helpful resources 

If you are concerned about how much alcohol you drink or just hoping to confirm that you are drinking a safe amount, why not try out this interactive unit checker to calculate how many units of alcohol you typically drink 

For further information and support, you can make use of the following resources: 

Please see our Help and Support page for further support organisations. 

Page updated: 08/12/2020 12:40:52