For many people, having one or two drinks is an important part of socialising.
Although a couple of drinks might not harm your body, too much drink can have serious consequences – on your health, relationships and career.
How much can I drink?
Alcohol is normally measured in units, where half a pint of lager roughly equals one unit. As drinks vary in strength and size, different drinks contain different number of units.
How many units you can drink depends on many things, such as your size, age and gender. Even if you stay within the limits listed, it’s a good idea to have one or two days a week free from alcohol.
- Men can safely drink 3 to 4 units a day, but not more than 21 units a week. For men over 40, 1 or 2 units of alcohol a day can help to prevent coronary heart disease;
- Women can drink 2 to 3 units a day, but shouldn’t take more than 14 units in a week. Women who have gone through menopause can drink 1 or 2 units a day to help prevent coronary heart disease.
Don’t forget! If you’re pregnant or about to drive, it’s best not to drink at all.
What if I drink more?
Heavy drinking, or bingeing, can be risky. When you’re drunk, you are more likely to be injured physically – through violence, accidents or unprotected sex. Too much drink can also lead to accidents such as acute alcohol poisoning or inhaling vomit when being unconscious – and these can be fatal.
Drinking a lot over a longer period of time can cause life-threatening damage to your liver, stomach and brain. It can also give you serious social and psychological problems such as depression, insomnia and can make it difficult to maintain professional and private relationships.