The government guidelines for alcohol are different for men and women. A man's recommended daily limit is 3-4 units which is equal to a pint and a half of beer based on 4% ABV. A women's recommended daily limit is 2-3 units, a medium (175ml) glass of wine based on 13% AVB. If you regularly drink more than the recommended limits, try these simple tips from NHS Choices to help you cut down.
- Make a plan - Before you start drinking, set a limit on how much you're going to drink.
- Set a budget - Only take a fixed amount of money to spend on alcohol.
- Take it a day at a time - Cut back a little each day. That way, every day you do is a success.
- Make it a smaller one - You can still enjoy a drink but go for smaller sizes. Try bottled beer instead of pints, or a small glass of wine instead of a large one.
- Have a lower-strength drink - Cut down the alcohol by swapping strong beers or wines for ones with a lower strength.
- Stay hydrated - Drink a pint of water before you start drinking, and don't use alcohol to quench your thirst. Have a soft drink.
- Take a break - Have the odd day each week when you don't have an alcoholic drink. If you think you may be dependent on alcohol please talk to your GP or ring the Shropshire Recovery Partnership on 01743 294 700.
Why not keep a drinks diary; you may be surprised by how much you are actually drinking without realising it. There are many ways you could do this from paper diaries to apps for your mobile phone and online trackers.
Benefits of cutting down
The immediate effects of cutting down your alcohol intake include:
- feeling better in the mornings
- being less tired during the day
- your skin may start to look better
- help with weight control
- you will feel fitter
- Drinking affects your judgment and behavior, which can lead to aggression or taking part in risky or illegal behavior while drunk, such as having unprotected sex or drink-driving.
Long-term benefits include:
The long-term effects of reducing your alcohol intake include:
- Alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns so cutting down could improve sleep leaving you feeling more rested on waking.
- There is a strong link between heavy drinking and depression, memory loss and even suicide, cutting down could improve your mood generally
- Drinking too much over an extended period of time can turn a temporary condition like 'Brewer's Droop' into full-blown impotence
- Long-term heavy drinking can lead to your heart becoming enlarged. Once this happens it cannot be reversed but by cutting down you can stop it getting worse
- Drinking regularly can affect your immune system, increasing the likelihood of catching infectious diseases.
If you would like further information, please consult the 'helpful links' section on this page.
There were 1.2 million alcohol-related hospital admissions in England in the year 2011/12, a 135% increase since 2002/03
In England in 2011/12 there were 49,456 hospital admissions for alcohol-related liver disease
Deaths from liver disease in England have reached record levels, rising by 20% in a decade, with alcoholic liver disease accounting for over a third (37%) of all liver disease deaths
Alcohol can cause seven types of cancer, drinking alcohol regularly can increase your risk of cancer of the liver, bowel, breast, mouth, upper throat, food pipe and voice box.
Alcohol is calorific, a pint of 4% beer or two double gin and tonics equals around one burger. Alcohol can cause your face and stomach bloat. The toxins in alcohol are believed to contribute to cellulite.