Alcohol and your health

Thinking about a change to your drinking patterns?

  • Are there times when you find yourself drinking more than you really set out to do?
  • Or have you found yourself in a risky situation as a result of too much booze?
  • Have you cheated on your partner as a result of 'one too many' on a night out with friends?
  • Or found that you're drinking more than you once did to get the effect you want?
  • Is your drinking causing job troubles or problems with studying?

This booklet Rethinking Your Drinking should provide some further advice.

How Much Is Too Much?

The NHS recommends that you should not drink more than:

  • 3 - 4 units of alcohol a day for men
  • 2 -3 units of alcohol a day for women

Aim to have one or two alcohol free days a week.

What is a unit of alcohol?

One unit contains 8g of alcohol. Put simply:

  • 1 bottle of alcopop = 1.5 units
  • 1 pint standard beer/lager/stout = 2 units
  • 1 single (25ml) pub measure of spirits = 1 unit
  • 1 can (440ml) super strength lager = 4 units
  • 1 large glass (250ml) of wine = 3 units
  • 1 pint extra strong cider = 5.7 units

The actual number of units in any alcoholic drink will depend on the exact alcohol content of the drink.

Find out how many units there are in your favourite drink by visiting www.drinkaware.co.uk/how-many-units

Calories: Alcohol is laden with calories so the more you drink the more likely you are to gain weight.

  • 1 pint of strong cider = 570 calories
  • 1 small glass of wine = 1 packet of crisps.

That's worth remembering when deciding to buy chips on the way home after a night out!

This booklet Know Your Units provides further information.

If you are worried by your own or by someone else's drinking, here are some organisations with helpful websites, and their contact numbers:

  • Addaction - UK wide treatment agency, helping individuals, families and communities to manage the effects of drug and alcohol misuse - www.addaction.org.uk
  • ADFAM - Information and advice for families of alcohol and drug users. The website has a list of local family support services.Call 020 7553 7640 or visit www.adfam.org.uk
  • Al-Anon is world wide and offers support and understanding to the families and friends of problem drinkers, whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not. Alateen is part of this group. Visit: www.al-anonuk.org.uk/alateen
    Confidential Helpline 0207 40 30 888 open 10 am - 10pm or visit www.al-anonuk.org.uk
  • Alcohol Concern - The national agency on alcohol misuse for England and Wales. General information about alcohol, and can help put you in touch with your nearest alcohol advice centre. Call 020 7928 7377 or visit www.alcoholconcern.org.uk
  • Down Your Drink - A six week online programme to help users reduce drinking and develop safer drinking habits. Free and confidential. www.downyourdrink.org.uk
  • Drinkline - If you're worried about your own or someone else's drinking, you can call this free helpline, in complete confidence. They can put you in touch with your local alcohol advice centre for help and advice. Call 0800 917 8282 (open 24 hours)
  • DAN 24/7 is a Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline and is a free bilingual helpline, providing a single point of contact for anyone in Wales wanting further information or help relating to drugs or alcohol. Freephone: 0808 808 2234 or text DAN to: 81066
  • DDAS (Dyfed Drug and Alcohol Service) is an all in one substance misuse service for Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire and provides a single point of contact telephone line for referrals and advice. For more information and to find out where you nearest DDAS service is call: 03303 639 997 (single point of contact).
    Carmarthenshire: The Old Parish Hall, Church Street, Llanelli, SA15 3DD
    Ceredigion: 25 North Parade, Aberystwyth, SY23 2JN
    Pembrokeshire: First Floor Allied House, Ebenezer Row, Haverfordwest, SA61 2JP
    DDAS Leaflet
  • ChildLine - A free helpline for children and young people in the UK. Counsellors are always on hand to talk about any problem and to help you sort it out. www.childline.org.uk
    Call free 0800 1111.Lines can be busy but please keep trying and you will get through
  • Ceredigion Domestic Abuse Forum - Works with children and adult victims of domestic abuse. The domestic abuse helpline is open from 8am – 2pm and from 8pm – 2am and is free to call. Call 0808 80 10 800 or visit www.notyourfault.org
  • DrinkAware - A general advice and information site with lots of helpful tips. Visit: www.drinkaware.co.uk
  • Drug Aid: Choices is a service that stems from the 'DDAS' service for under 18's living in Ceredigion/Carmarthenshire/ Pembrokeshire. Drug Aid provides information and support on substance misuse including 1:1 sessions, Family Work, Group work and referral to other agencies. For more information call: 01554 755779.
    Drug Aid: Choices leaflet
  • Family Planning Association - FPA (Family Planning Association) is the UK's leading sexual health charity. Their website has a wide range of high quality, up-to-date information on sexual health issues including contraception, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy choices, abortion and planning a pregnancy. www.fpa.org.uk
  • Know Your Limit - Aimed at young adults, Know Your Limits provides advice and information about how to enjoy a great time out without drinking too much, and having to face the consequences. www.units.nhs.uk
  • National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome - This organisation offers a helpline, newsletter, information and runs a support group for families. www.nofas-uk.org
  • Parentline Plus - A freephone helpline, and also runs parenting courses
    Call 0808 800 2222 or visit www.parentlineplus.org.uk
  • Talk to Frank - FRANK offers friendly and confidential drugs advice, live chat opportunities, as well as an e-mailing service. FRANK website is packed full of information regarding drug misuse. www.talktofrank.com
  • Talk About Alcohol - Information and facts on all alcohol related issues for young people
    Visit: www.talkaboutalcohol.com
  • Team Around the Family (TAF) - TAF can offer advice, help and support to families through pulling together the right people and organisations to help. TAF can help families with issues such as children running away, challenging behaviour, difficulties in the community and Drug and Alcohol misuse. To find out more go to: www.teamaroundthefamily.com
    Call: 01545 572649
  • Ceredigion Domestic Abuse - Forum Works with children and adult victims of domestic abuse. The domestic abuse helpline is open from 8am – 2pm and from 8pm – 2am and is free to call. Call 0808 80 10 800 www.notyourfault.org
  • Social Services Ceredigion - A single point of access for the people of Ceredigion, which offers quick and easy access to information about services and resources available in the local authority. Phone: 01545 574 000 or e-mail: contactsocservs@ceredigion.gov.uk