Stay within your weekly limit for Alcohol Awareness Week

Print Friendly

Sometimes it can be difficult to see if you’re drinking too much or relying on alcohol to help get through the day.

The annual Alcohol Awareness Week campaign in November aims to highlight the issues surrounding dependence on alcohol.

Recommended Intake

Every measure of alcoholic beverage contains units, which are based on both the size of the drinks and the strength of the alcohol. In January the guidance around recommended limits of alcohol was updated – the Chief Medical Officer recommends no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spreading these units evenly over three or more days.

Understanding how many units you’re drinking can help you stay on track. A lower-strength pint of lager or cider is 2 units, while a single measure of spirits is 1 unit. A standard glass of wine is just over 2 units, while a large glass is 3.  A bottle of wine is about 10 units of alcohol, so it’s easy to see that simply sharing a bottle in the evening a few nights a week could push you over your limit.

Use a drinks checker to see how many units of alcohol you actually drink, and calculate the calories too – you may be surprised by the result.

Side Effects

Too much alcohol can be very bad for your health. Alcohol is a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions, including cancers, dementia, hypertension and diabetes. If you routinely drink too much you are more at risk of cancers and heart attack, and can increase your blood pressure and damage your liver.

Although many people think that a drink can help you relax, alcohol is actually a depressant and also reduces your ability to concentrate, react and move.

Many people think that a drink before bed will help them sleep. While alcohol can make you sleepy, it actually stops you from getting a proper deep sleep, and will leave you feeling worse the next day.

There are obvious side effects too. Alcohol clouds your judgement and can lead to you saying and doing things you might regret. It makes you clumsier and slower to react, leading to an increased risk of injury and accident. As it’s high in calories, alcohol consumption can also lead to unwanted weight gain.

Cutting Back

If you’re drinking too much alcohol there are lots of ways you can cut back and improve your health.

  • Break the habit – if you drink alcohol as part of a routine, then shake things up. If you drink before bed or while you’re watching TV, switch to water or tea. If you catch up with friends in the pub, meet in a café or restaurant instead. If you drink with your partner at home, make a pact to cut down together and take up a new hobby or go out together instead.
  • Swap drinks – make simple changes to what you drink to cut your alcoholic intake. Drink a glass of water or juice between each alcoholic drink if you’re in the pub. Choose a bottle of lager instead of a pint, or a single instead of a double.
  • Drink with dinner – food helps alcohol to be absorbed more slowly by your body. Try only drinking with your main meal of the day, and only pour yourself one glass.
  • Don’t buy bulk – if it’s not in the house, you won’t drink it. Don’t buy beers in bulk at the supermarket, wine when you’re shopping, or spirits on offer.
  • Budget and save – set yourself a budget for your monthly alcohol consumption, and stick to it. Put anything you don’t spend in a piggy bank and see what else you could treat yourself to after a month or year. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save if you reduce, or cut out, alcohol.
  • Have alcohol free days – give your body time to recover from the effects of alcohol by having alcohol free days every week. Remember not to binge on the days you do drink, though, as you should never exceed your daily limit.

If you cut back on alcohol you may quickly find that you feel happier, have more energy, have more money, and lose weight.

If you’ve been surprised by how much alcohol you drink or find it hard to cut from your diet, talk to a health professional and get support.

What else can people do to cut back on alcohol?

The following two tabs change content below.

Silversurfers Features Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Features Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

Latest posts by Silversurfers Features Editor (see all)

Not a member?

Join the silversurfers community today! It's free, easy to do, and is packed full of features and amazing offers!

Join the community!
Click here if you have forgotten your password
17th Nov 2014
Thanks for voting!
I am so glad that you are discussing this on the website, I went through 3 years of drinking at home when 2 close friends of mine suddenly died 1 of whom became demented before he died. I ended up as an alcoholic ! It was only with the support of my church community and Alcoholics Anonymous that I got over the addiction. Please realize how easy it is to become addicted it was the most miserable and frightening time of my life.

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!

More Health & Beauty

Dealing with asthma in winter Man Hand writing Asthma with black marker on visual screen. . Business, technology, internet concept
The cold weather can be a major trigger for asthma symptoms, and during winter asthma sufferers...
Living with arthritis: Making things easier at home Giving Help
12 October is World Arthritis Day, an annual campaign that aims to increase awareness around...
Quit smoking once and for all this Stoptober Quit smoking word written with broken cigarette concept for quit
October brings with it the annual NHS campaign to quit smoking. If you’ve never heard of it...
Common aches and pains Digital composite of Highlighted spine pain of man
Aches and pains can strike at any age, but there are some common gripes that seem to affect us as...
Supporting a loved one with depression Depression
If a friend or family member is struggling with depression, it can be difficult to know how to...
Protecting Your Skin From The Sun - The Best SPFs Woman's Foot With Sun-shaped Sun Cream In The Tropical Beach
It’s vital to protect your skin against damage from the sun’s rays, in order to reduce the...
Maintain bone health at any age Closeup On Medical Doctor Woman Pointing On Spine Of Human Skele
Keeping your bones healthy and strong is especially important as we age, when even minor falls can...
Parkinson’s Awareness Week Help Giving
Monday 18 April – Sunday 24 April 2016 is Parkinson’s Awareness Week. This year’s campaign...
Want to give blood? Tips for first-time donors Blood donor at donation.
Thinking about donating blood for the first time? It’s normal to be nervous, but the truth is...
Stay fighting fit during flu season Sick Ill Dog
Every winter during flu season thousands of people around the country catch the cold or flu...
Study shows affluent over 50s most at risk of harmful drinking Man Tasting Wine
According to a study by AGE UK’s chief economist, Professor Jose Iparraguirre, affluent over 50s...
I’m glad I expressed my prostate cancer concerns Tom_Gowers3_900x550
When Tom was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 43, his long-felt suspicions had been confirmed...