New guidelines on safe levels of alcohol consumption have been issued
The Chief Medical Officers’ guideline for both men and women is that:
are safest not to drink regularly more than 14 units per week, to keep
health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level.
- If you do
drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly
over 3 days or more. If you have one or two heavy drinking sessions, you
increase your risks of death from long term illnesses and from accidents
- The risk
of developing a range of illnesses (including, for example, cancers of the
mouth, throat and breast) increases with any amount you drink on a
- If you
wish to cut down the amount you’re drinking, a good way to help
achieve this is to have several drink-free days each week.
Women should not drink at all.
Why the Change?
Did you know that alcohol is linked to over 70 medical conditions and is the third biggest lifestyle risk factor after smoking? Alcohol
harms affect more than just the liver, causing high blood pressure with links
to diabetes, depression and cancers (including bowel, throat, breast, liver,
mouth & stomach).
contributes 10% to the burden of death and disease in England.
What consequences can excessive alcohol consumption have?
becomes a permanent feature in a person’s life, it’s not just the drinker that
feels the effect - surrounding family and friends do too. Drinking habits can
often become a source of arguments and lead to relationship issues. Emotional
and financial consequences are also common.
These pressures can lead to unemployment, debt, family and relationship
breakdowns and depression.
Excessive alcohol consumption also increases the risk of heart disease, strokes and men who drink a lot of alcohol may affect the quality and quantity of their sperm. The NHS provides specific information on monitoring alcohol levels here
Alcohol is also a depressant slowing the function of the central nervous system and altering a person's perceptions, emotions, movement, vision, and hearing. There is also a strong link between excessive alcohol consumption and depression and anxiety. For more information click here
Alcohol is an often ignored source of excess calories, contributing towards obesity, for example 250mls of red wine contains 195 calories, equal to one slice of sponge cake. For more information click here
To enjoy a drink whilst staying within safe levels try:
- Having a smaller drink such as a smaller bottle of beer over a can or a smaller glass of wine rather than a large one.
- Wine glasses today are bigger than ever and can easily hold a third of a bottle.
- Switching to a lower-strength drink - go for one with lower alcohol content (Compare the %ABV).
- Having a drink with a mixer such as diet coke or tonic water - Adding a mixer will make your drink last longer.
- Making every other drink non-alcoholic - Take a break between drinking and have a soft drink or glass of water.
Free Alcohol Test
If you are
concerned about your drinking, take the free alcohol test at Don’t Bottle It
If you are:
- having problems because of
- concerned about your
health or personal relationships
- worried that your alcohol
use is getting worse
- want support to make
changes in your life
- are over 18 and live in Ealing
Ealing’s drug and alcohol service. They
can help you access a range of treatment options and make some positive changes
to your life. You can ring for advice
and an appointment on the following numbers: 020 8567 4772
(office hours) or 0800 195 8100 (out of hours support line.)
To read a Health Matters blog on Harmful drinking and alcohol dependence click here
To read the proposed new government alcohol consumption guidelines and to take part in it's consultation click here.
Drinkaware has a website with lots of facts about alcohol, understanding your drinking and how to make a change go to www.drinkaware.co.uk.
Alcohol Concern - Alcohol Concern was founded in 1984 as the national charity working to help reduce the problems that can be caused by alcohol. More info here
The medical journal 'the Lancet' has produced a report which found that between 1980 and 2013, deaths from liver disease in the UK increased by four times. To read the report click here.
The NHS Choices website has lots of information about drinking and alcohol, including calculating calories, units and tips on cutting down. For more information click here.
RISE offers a pathway to Recovery for adults with alcohol problems in Ealing as well as general alcohol advice, for more information please visit the website here.
To find a local group for support please visit the website here.
PHE Alcohol Learning Resources. Although meant for health professionals, this training can be adapted to community settings and those trained and comfortable giving MECC conversations. Registration required.