Alcohol and Drinking


People who drink alcohol are urged to only do so in moderation and within the unit limits recommended by the Government. Drinking over this limit can damage health. The unit limits recommended by the Department of Health are:

• 14 units for a woman (three per day maximum)

• 21 units for a man (four per day maximum)

Experts say that binge drinking causes more health damage than drinking in moderation. Although the unit limits recommended are 14 and 21 units, these should not be drunk all at the same time. It is far safer to spread them throughout the week. Having a few days regularly where no alcohol is drunk is recommended.

A unit of alcohol is around a half-pint of standard-strength beer, a single spirit measure or a small glass of red or white wine. Sometimes pub measures can be larger, though, so caution is advised. Another thing to take into account is a drink’s strength. The higher the percentage of the drink, the more units of alcohol there will be in it.

Drinking heavily can cause significant health problems which have a major impact. Research suggests that around one in three men and one in seven women drink too much on a regular basis. Problems which heavy drinking can cause include:

• Liver damage

• Stomach damage

• Mental health changes

• Sexual issues

• Accidents and injuries

• Dependency

According to estimates more than 30,000 people die each year from alcohol-related causes. Around a quarter of these people are killed in accidents where alcohol has been involved.

Alcohol can cause social problems too. It can create tensions at work and between friends and families. Some people start being absent from work more often and not performing well when they’ve been drinking. Others fall out with loved ones because of their drinking.


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