Employee Wellbeing - Alcohol
This factsheet is aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of drinking too much alcohol and the benefits of giving up or reducing it. Alcohol – What is a safe limit?
It has been said that drinking alcohol in moderation (1-2 units per day) may help to protect you from heart disease. However, too much alcohol can be harmful. So what are the safe limits? It is recommended that:
- Men should drink no more than 21 units of alcohol per week (and no more than four units in any one day).
- Women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week (and no more than three units in any one day).
The more you drink above these limits the more harmful the alcohol is likely to be. Binge drinking (e.g. 10 or more units twice per week) can be harmful although still in the recommended safe limits.
What does a unit of alcohol equate to?
One unit of alcohol is 10ml by volume, or 8g by weight, of pure alcohol. So what does this mean?
One unit of alcohol is about:
- Half a pint of ordinary strength beer, lager or cider (3-4% alcohol by volume)
- A pub measure (50ml) of fortified wine such as sherry or port (20% alcohol by volume)
One and a half units of alcohol is about:
- A small glass (125ml) or ordinary strength wine (12% alcohol by volume)
- A standard pub measure (35ml) of spirits (40% alcohol by volume)
What are the dangers of drinking too much alcohol?
If you drink too much alcohol you have an increased risk of illness developing. eg:
- Serious liver disease (cirrhosis or hepatitis)
- Disorders of the stomach and pancreas
- High blood pressure
- Depression and anxiety
- Muscular and heart muscle disease
- Sexual difficulties
- Some cancers (mouth, gullet, colon, liver and breast)
- A higher risk of accidents such as fire, car crashes and falling
- Damage to the nervous tissues
As well as the mental and physical dangers, drinking too much alcohol creates other problems such as dependency and family problems. If you find you are experiencing unpleasant side effects on the days you do not have a drink (feeling sick, trembling, sweating and craving alcohol) you may turn to drink to avoid these symptoms. Home life may become fraught if a family member becomes a problem drinker. Emotional, financial and psychological distress often arise but the drinker denies that alcohol is the root cause. If you feel you are alcohol dependent it is recommended you seek medical advice from your doctor.
How can I reduce my alcohol intake?
If you think you have an alcohol dependency, you can give up but you will need to have strong willpower and determination, but it is possible. Firstly you need to accept you may have a problem, this can be the biggest step to returning to sensible drinking. For some giving up alcohol is easier than for others but there is help available to you via your G.P or groups such as alcoholics anonymous. Think positive and imagine how different your life could be.
If you are just looking to reduce your alcohol intake why not have a couple of days per week where you do not drink, opt for low alcohol or non beers, pace yourself or go for longer drinks such as spritzers (wine and lemonade or soda) which will last much longer. Following the healthy drinking guidelines can make a real difference to your health and reduce illness and possibly protect yourself from heart disease.
If you would to speak with someone with regards to alcohol dependency contact your G.P. or for further information visit:
I hope you have found this fact sheet useful. For further information on drinking awareness workshops or any of the services offered by Work Well Hub please call us now on: 01202 987916 or email Hello@workwellhub.com
This fact sheet has been adapted from the NHS website – www.patient.co.uk and is for information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Every care has been taken when compiling this information but we make no guarantee to its accuracy.