There’s no getting away from it - drinking alcohol affects your health, increasing your risk of liver problems, some cancers and heart disease.
So how much should I be drinking?
The NHS advice says:
- Don’t drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis
- You should spread your drinking over three or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week, rather than binge all at once
- If you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week
- A lot of people have no idea how much a unit of alcohol is…
Here is a quick quiz to check your alcohol unit knowledge.
- Single small shot of spirits* (25ml, ABV 40%) =
- Small glass of red/white/rosé wine (125ml, ABV 12%) =
- Bottle of lager/beer/cider (330ml, ABV 5%) =
- Can of lager/beer/cider (440ml, ABV 5.5%) =
- Pint of lower-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 3.6%) =
- Pint of higher-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 5.2%) =
- Large glass of red/white/rosé wine (250ml, ABV 12%) =
- A bottle of wine (red or white) =
- Single small shot of spirits* (25ml, ABV 40%) = 1 unit
- Small glass of red/white/rosé wine (125ml, ABV 12%) = 1.5 units
- Bottle of lager/beer/cider (330ml, ABV 5%) = 1.7 units
- Can of lager/beer/cider (440ml, ABV 5.5%) = 2.4 units
- Pint of lower-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 3.6%) = 2 units
- Pint of higher-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 5.2%) = 3 units
- Large glass of red/white/rosé wine (250ml, ABV 12%) = 3 units
- A bottle of wine = 7.5 units
How will reducing my alcohol intake help me?
Even just 31 days without alcohol during Dry January or Sober October gives amazing, obvious benefits like more energy, improved concentration, boosted mood and so much more. It does you good on the inside too. In fact, research shows that a month off alcohol leads to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes risk, as well as lower cancer-related proteins in the blood.
Going ‘cold turkey’ might be a bit intimidating, but even reducing a little will help improve your mood and your health.
There are many benefits to reducing alcohol intake:
- 70% of people sleep better
- 86% of people save money
- 65% of people notice improved health including brighter skin
The benefits to health are many including reducing risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease. There is also evidence that shows a strong link between alcohol misuse and worsening mental health including self-harm and suicide. (Source: NHS UK).
Where can I get support with alcohol issues?
- Dry January | Alcohol Change UK
- NHS Live well – alcohol support
- Talk to Frank / alcohol
- Change, grow, live (Gloucestershire)
The EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) App ‘My Healthy Advantage’ also includes a dedicated section ‘alcohol guidance and support’ with lots of useful articles and 4 week action plans to drinking less. Download the app.
If you think that you have an alcohol addiction or dependency, then your GP will be able to give you support with this. There is also support available for families who are affected by addiction via The Recovery Village.
Whether you’re looking to just cut down on your drinking, or to stop drinking completely and become alcohol-free, it means you’re making a big change to your lifestyle.
Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire offers support to help you drink less.
There is lots of information available to help you through our Employee Assistance Programme with Health Assured, both online and via the My Healthy Advantage app.
YourCircle also includes lots of helpful local contacts.