18 or over and worried you might be drinking too much alcohol?
Are you concerned about your drinking habits? Been partying too hard and feeling groggy and grumpy after a night of shots and beers? Discover how much alcohol is too much and how to spot the signs of drinking too much alcohol. We’re also here to share ways to reduce your alcohol consumption and how to get more support if you need it.
These guidelines are designed to help people stay in control of their drinking. Alcohol is measured in units and by sticking to these guidelines, you can keep health risks at a low level. Both men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week. They’re also advised to spread these units over the week, rather than ‘binge’ drink them in one session. What exactly is a unit, you ask? Here’s a handy guide:
- Single 25ml shot of spirits (vodka, whisky etc.) – 1 unit
- Alcopop 275ml (WKD, Smirnoff Ice etc.) – 1.5 units
- Small glass of red/white/rosé wine – 1.5 units
- Large glass of red/white/rosé wine – 3 units
- Bottle of lager/cider/beer – 1.7 units
- Pint of lager/beer/cider (lower-strength ABV 3.6%) – 2 units
- Pint of lager /beer/cider (higher strength ABV 5.2%) – 3 units
Have a think back to your last night out and count how many units you think you drank. It can be a real eye-opener when you add it up – it doesn’t take very many drinks before you hit 14.
Signs You May Be Drinking Too Much
These symptoms and warning signs are an indicator that you may be drinking too much alcohol:
- Alcohol often gets you into trouble or affects your day-to-day life. Missing work or social commitments due to being hungover, for example.
- You often feel an urge to drink.
- Other people have commented on your drinking habits or expressed concern.
- You feel as if alcohol is having a negative effect on your health and wellbeing.
- Feeling constantly tired and groggy.
- Changes to your appetite or weight.
- Having to drink more and more to get a ‘buzz’.
Discover more about the lesser-known impacts of alcohol on your health here.
If you’re still unsure about whether your drinking habits are becoming a problem, you can complete this helpful self-assessment quiz at Drinkaware: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/tools/self-assessment
I Want To Cut Back On My Drinking
If you recognise some of these signs and want to reduce your alcohol consumption or cut it out altogether, well done! You’ve made the first important step and you’re on your way to reducing the harmful effects of drinking. Reducing your alcohol intake can also give you better skin, improved sleep and even help you lose weight. Here are ways to reduce your drinking:
- Have alcohol-free days. The NHS app, Drink Free Days is a really useful tool to help you track your alcohol-free journey. Download for IOS here and Android here
- Make sensible swaps! Swap out your usual pint of lager for a pint of ice-cold Coke or try the alcohol-free version of your favourite tipple. There are lots of great AF choices available in supermarkets and in the pub. You can have an AF beer while watching the footie and still feel like you’re having pints with the lads or sip a fancy AF cocktail with your lunch.
- Identify your triggers. What makes you want to reach for alcohol? When we know and understand our triggers, we can challenge them. If Friday drinks after work is a HUGE trigger to you, you can plan ahead to do something different or choose AF drinks at the bar.
- Get support from friends and family. Let them know that you’re actively reducing your drinking and why you’re doing it. Having the support of mates and family members can help to encourage you on your journey.
Breaking habits is never easy, but you can do it when you make clear goals, plan ahead and enlist the help and support of family and friends. You’ve got this! Find out more about breaking habits here.
When To Get More Help
If you feel like you are dependent on alcohol, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a health professional before stopping drinking as it can cause physical withdrawal symptoms like shaking, sweating or nausea. You can get more help and support for drinking here.