Alcohol is a depressant and can affect the way your brain functions, so it’s important to take a measured approach to how much alcohol you drink regularly. Alcohol may give you a temporary ‘high’, but if you don’t drink sensibly, or you drink heavily over a long period of time, you may be at risk of developing mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression.
It’s not possible to be precise about how much is safe for individual men and women to drink. Current guidelines, however, recommend not regularly drinking more than three or four units a day for men and two or three units a day for women. Although ‘Regularly’ means every day or most days of the week, it’s a good idea to have at least two alcohol-free days a week so you don’t go over the limits. So over a week, men shouldn’t have more than 21 units and women shouldn’t have more than 14 units.
This doesn’t mean you can save up all the ‘allowance’ for a weekend binge. A drinking binge is generally defined as drinking double the daily recommended units in one session.
A large 250ml glass of standard strength wine (13% ABV) can be as much as three units, while a pint of standard strength lager (4% ABV) is more than two units. But don’t ‘save up’ your allowance for a one-night binge as this has a bad effect on your liver, which will leave you feeling worse too.
Is it safe to drink alcohol and drive?
No. Alcohol use slows reaction time and impairs judgment and coordination, which are all skills needed to drive a car safely. The more alcohol consumed, the greater the impairment.
How do I know if I have a drinking problem?
Drinking is a problem if it causes trouble in your work, relationships, in school, in social activities, or in how you think and feel. If you are concerned that either you or someone in your family might have a drinking problem, consult your health care provider.