To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level, it's advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week. It's best to spread your drinking evenly over 3 or more days, rather than binge drinking over a short period of time.
What does 14 units look like?
6 pints of beer (4% strength)
or 6 glasses of wine (13% strength, 175ml)
or 14 single shots of spirit (40% strength)
Risks of alcohol misuse
- accidents resulting in injury, causing death in some cases
- violent behaviour and being a victim of violence
- loss of personal possessions like wallets, keys or phone
- unprotected sex, potentially leading to STIs or pregnancy
- alcohol poisoning – leading to vomiting, fits and unconsciousness
- heart disease & stroke
- liver disease
- certain types of cancer
- mental health issues
- sexual and fertility problems
- social problems such as unemployment, domestic abuse and homelessness
If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all to minimise risks to your baby.
Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby – known as Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.
If you’re worried about how much you have been drinking whilst pregnant, talk to your doctor or midwife.
If you’re concerned about your drinking or someone else’s, there are services available to help.