It’s recommended that you don’t drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread out over at least 3 days, to keep the risks from alcohol low. This is the same for both men and women.
14 units is the equivalent of:
It is best to spread this evenly across the week rather than drinking all at once. Having several alcohol-free days each week is a good way to cut down.
Tips for cutting down
What is a unit?
A unit is 10ml of pure alcohol.
You can work out how many units are in any drink. Multiply the volume (in ml) by the % abv (strength) then divide by 1000.
For example, a 750ml bottle of wine which is 13% abv would be:
750 x 13 = 9,750/1000 = 9.75 units
Or use this handy drinks calculator: https://www.count14.scot/#unit-calculator
Alcohol poisoning can happen when you drink alcohol quicker than your body can process it. It can make you seriously ill and you may need to go to hospital for treatment.
If you believe someone has alcohol poisoning all 999 immediately.
Things you can do to help someone who has drank to much alcohol
Recognising Alcohol Withdrawal
Heavy drinkers who suddenly decrease or stop drinking altogether may experience withdrawal symptoms. They are potentially dangerous and should be treated as a serious warning sign that you are drinking too much.
Withdrawal symptoms are part of a condition called ‘alcohol withdrawal syndrome’, which is a reaction caused when someone who has become dependent on alcohol stops drinking it.
The more you drink on a regular basis, the more you’re likely to be affected by withdrawal symptoms. To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level, the UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) advise it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.
If you are concerned you might be dependent on alcohol, you should seek medical advice to help you cut down and stop your drinking safely.
Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms can be physical and psychological, and range in severity from mild to severe.
Typical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can include:
Milder symptoms usually start within eight to 24 hours from the last alcoholic drink.
Severe symptoms can additionally include hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t real), as well as seizures or delirium tremens (‘DTs’).
Delirium tremens is a severe indication of alcohol withdrawal. Symptoms include:
Severe withdrawal effects can be life threatening.
Approximately one in 10 people with alcohol withdrawal syndrome are affected by seizures. If left untreated, up to one in three of these patients go on to experience delirium tremens.
If you (or someone you’re looking after) experience repeated vomiting, severe shaking or hallucinations, seek medical attention.
If you think you are dependent on alcohol or are looking for support to reduce and stop your drinking, it is important to seek help.
Alcohol and Pregnancy
When you’re pregnant, drinking alcohol can seriously affect you and your baby’s health. Sometimes this can be lifelong.
How alcohol can harm your baby
There’s no known safe limit of drinking during pregnancy.
Some people will tell you that having the odd drink when you’re pregnant is okay.
The safest option is to stop drinking when you’re trying to get pregnant or as soon as you know you’re pregnant.
Your baby’s developing all the way through your pregnancy. Alcohol can be harmful at any stage.
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
If you drink while pregnant your baby could develop fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). This is a term used to describe a range of alcohol-related birth defects.
About 3 in every 100 children and young people in the UK have FASD, but it’s preventable by avoiding alcohol when pregnant or planning a pregnancy.
FASD may not always be detected at birth but can cause problems later in life, including: