Alcohol - drink safely

Drink bottlesAlcohol: how much is too much?

In Surrey, it is estimated that more than a quarter of adults who drink alcohol, drink above what are considered safe levels. This means that they are putting themselves at risk of developing health problems in the future due to their drinking.

Regularly drinking too much alcohol can have severe effects on your health. Drinking more than your recommended daily units of alcohol significantly increases your risk of developing over sixty diseases and your mental health and social life are also affected.

Know your limits

Surveys have shown that only 12-16% of Surrey adults are aware of the recommended guidelines for safe drinking. Recommended daily units for men and women differ because our body's metabolism of alcohol is also affected by our genetic make-up. In addition, safe alcohol levels reduce as we get older. There are also legal and safety issues to consider when asking 'How much is too much?'. These include driving, operating heavy machinery, drinking during pregnancy or whilst taking medication, and under-age drinking.

To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level if you drink most weeks:

  • men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis 
  • spread your drinking over three or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week
  • if you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week

Fourteen units is equivalent to six pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine

Don't Bottle It Up!

Don't Bottle It Up allows you to work out what level of risk you are at as a result of your drinking, to access personalised advice online and, where appropriate, find out where you can get face-to-face support locally.

Don't Bottle It Up allows people to complete an online test, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1982 as a simple way to identify people who are at risk of harm as a result of their drinking. Unlike some alcohol screening tests, the test has proven to be accurate across all ethnic and gender groups.

The test contains ten multiple choice questions on the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption, drinking behaviour and alcohol-related problems or reactions. On average, it should take only two minutes to complete.

There is also more information available about safe drinking levels or tips and advice on cutting down at the Change4Life website.

If you're worried about your own or someone else's alcohol intake call the confidential Surrey Drug and Alcohol Care helpline on 0808 802 5000. More information can be found on the Surrey Drug and Alcohol Care website.

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