Managing your alcohol intake
Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol doesn't often cause any
problems, but drinking too much can be harmful to your health.
The Department of Health advises the following limits:
- men should drink no more than 3 - 4 units of
alcohol per day
- women should drink no more than 2 - 3 units of
alcohol per day
What is a unit of alcohol?
One unit of alcohol is equivalent to 10ml of pure alcohol. As a
- 1 pint of strong lager = 3 units
- 1 pint of ordinary lager, bitter or cider, 175ml glass of wine
= 2 units
- 1 alcopop = 1.5 units
- 1 measure of spirits = 1 unit
- many wines are around 11 or 12 per cent alcohol, so a small
glass = 1.5 units
Lagers and ciders sold in bottles are usually stronger than
those sold on draught. You can find out exactly how many units of
alcohol are in the bottle by reading the label.
How much are you drinking?
What are the health risks?
Abusing alcohol can lead to a wide range of health problems. In
the short term it may cause you to experience drowsiness, tension,
dehydration, unconsciousness or even death.
In the long term, it is known to contribute to more serious
health problems, including liver damage, cancer and heart
Read more about the
health risks linked to excessive drinking on the NHS
Where to get help
You don't have to be an alcoholic to be drinking over a safe
limit. The NHS has developed a free and confidential online
Down Your Drink
programme to tell drinkers what they need to know
to become a 'thinking drinker'.
If you are concerned about your drinking or that of a friend or
family member, you can call the free and confidential helpline
Drinkline on 0800 917 8282 for advice and
You can also get help from your local doctor or from local
support organisations like Alcoholics Anonymous
that may be able to refer you to structured treatment, such as
rehabilitation or detox.