Most people enjoy a drink without coming to any harm. However young and inexperienced drinkers can be more at risk, as they tend to have less understanding of the effects of alcohol.

Alcohol is measured in units. One unit is about equivalent to a single measure of spirits, half a pint of normal strength beer or lager, or a small glass of wine. Many beers are stronger than this: a pint of extra strength beer or lager can contain 4 or 5 units.

The recommended maximum limit is 3 or 4 units a day for a man and 2 or 3 units a day for a woman. If you are regularly drinking more than this, there is a risk to your health. This isn’t a safe limit for every day of the week. You should take a few days off on a regular basis. These recommended limits are for adults over 18 – there are no recommendations for those under 18.

Alcohol problems

If any of these warning signs is true for you, you may want to think about how much you are drinking. Alcohol problems are not just about being an ‘alcoholic’ or causing immediate health problems. If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s drinking, you can contact

Alcoholics Anonymous – who offer support at regular meetings and run a national helpline. You can call them or search online for times of their local meetings (most evenings).

For information online look at or