Home > Alcohol Awareness > Know your Limits for Responsible Drinking

Know your Limits for Responsible Drinking

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 23 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Alcohol Drinking Alcoholism Beer Alcohol

For most people drinking alcohol is associated with socialising and pleasurable experiences. Drinking in moderation can have health benefits like the lowering of the risk of coronary heart disease. Responsible drinking is all about understanding the harm alcohol can have on your health, both mentally and physically, if not consumed with care. Alcohol plays a big role in British society, and a huge percentage of drinkers regularly drink a lot more than the recommended weekly guidelines. Many of them simply because they lack sufficient understanding of the harm alcohol can have.

What Are The Limits?

Men should drink no more than 21 units of alcohol a week. No more than four units should be consumed per day.

Women should drink no more than 14 units a week – that’s three units a day – and should seriously consider not drinking at all if they are pregnant or trying to conceive.

What Is A Unit?

If you ask a drinker how much alcohol they have consumed the estimate will generally be lower than the reality. This is because people do not actually realise what their alcohol intake really is, and even fewer people know how to measure a unit of alcohol.

  • One unit of alcohol = 10ml, or 1cl, by volume of alcohol. Measured in actual drinks this equals half a pint of ordinary strength beer or lager, or a small measure of spirits or one standard pub measure (50ml) of fortified wine like sherry or port.
  • A small glass of wine, or pub measure of spirits, makes up one and a half units of alcohol.

Many wines and beers however, are often stronger than traditional strengths so it may be worth looking at a unit of alcohol in a different way. The percentage alcohol by volume is known as %abv and this equals the number of units there is in one litre of that particular alcoholic beverage. Strong beer or cider, which is 6%abv, has 6 units in one pint glass. Drinking half a glass of this means you will have consumed three units.

What Kind of Irresponsible Drinker Are You?

Binge-drinkers, chronic drinkers and those with multiple addictions, like drink and drugs, are more likely to harm themselves and others because they are unable to take full responsibility for their actions and behaviour.

Binge-drinking is an occasion when large volumes of alcohol are consumed over a relatively short period of time. A binge-drinker’s objective is usually to get drunk, and this form of drinking is generally associated with groups of people socialising together, after work perhaps. Some people will drink excessively occasionally, although for others it will be a regular occurrence.

Chronic drinkers are those people who drink large amounts, over the recommended weekly guideline, regularly. Usually over 30 these drinkers regularly increase their risk of developing serious health problems like cirrhosis and stroke.

Sensible Drinking.

To be a responsible drinker requires more than knowing how many units of alcohol it is safe for you to consume every week. It requires that you consider your health in a number of ways, and your behaviour around other people. It is also important that you have alcohol-free days, particularly after a period of heavy drinking, and being aware of situations where consuming alcohol is simply not advisable. For instance, when pregnant or operating heavy machinery.

Drinking excessively does not lead directly to harm, but it does increase the risk of harm. Other considerations also need to be taken into account, where alcohol misuse and potential harm are concerned. Personal circumstances, life experiences, a person’s genes and the environment, in which alcohol is consumed, are all contributing factors to increasing the risk of harm.

Being more aware of the harm excessive drinking can have will help individuals make informed choices about their drinking and behaviour.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
You say a pint of 6% alcohol beer is 6 units. That should be 3.4 units.
Rufus - 23-Aug-12 @ 4:20 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Itistheweekend
    Re: The Portman Group/Drinkaware
    @Miriam. It happened to me too a few years ago in another well known supermarket when my children were younger. I have recently…
    18 May 2018
  • Miriam
    Re: The Portman Group/Drinkaware
    Beware all mothers hoping to buy a bottle of rose in Waitrose! I am a disgruntled 40(ish) year old mother of two who was stopped…
    17 May 2018
  • Nic
    Re: Alcohol, Young People and UK Law
    What does UK law say about under 18’s purchasing 0% Beer? Are shops allowed to sell it to them?
    4 May 2018
  • Norman
    Re: Alcohol, Young People and UK Law
    Can you clarify the law about buying alcohol for the under 16s please. I know that my 15 year old son is legally allowed to…
    26 April 2018
  • AlcoholIssues
    Re: Living With an Alcoholic
    Just me - Your Question:I’ve been with my husband for 15 years married for 12 with two amazing children. My husband has always had an…
    20 April 2018
  • Dee1976
    Re: Support for Family and Friends of Alcoholics
    My partner went into rehab in dec 2016. He was doing really well in his sobriety journey until Jan this year…
    18 April 2018
  • Just me
    Re: Living With an Alcoholic
    I’ve been with my husband for 15 years married for 12 with two amazing children. My husband has always had an active personality-…
    17 April 2018
  • Abby
    Re: Alcohol, Young People and UK Law
    What are the usual consequences if a child were to attempt to sneak alcoholic produces into secondary school?
    15 April 2018
  • Brightonlisa47
    Re: Living With an Alcoholic
    My bf 4 years was only drinking cider 2 days he now drinks every night bottle of rum . 1/2 litre . We have no physical relationship as…
    14 April 2018
  • bubs1
    Re: Alcohol, Young People and UK Law
    Hiya we have a liscened horseboxbar our daughter is almost 15.. is it legal for her to prepare alcoholic drinks and serve…
    31 March 2018
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the AlcoholIssues website. Please read our Disclaimer.