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Alcohol - Sensible Drinking

Enjoying a drink

Lots of adults enjoy drinking alcohol from time to time, but drinking too much can be very damaging to your short and long term health. It’s important to understand how alcohol can affect our health and well being, and know how much it is safe to drink.

There is no guaranteed safe level of drinking, but if you drink less than the recommended daily limits, the risks of damaging your health are low.

The effects of alcohol on your health will depend on how much you drink; the more you drink, the greater the health risks.

Sensible drinking guidelines

Official guidelines recommend that men shouldn’t regularly drink more than three to four units a day and women shouldn’t regularly drink more than two to three units a day because of the harm this may cause.

Guidelines also state that you should have at least two alcohol-free days each week, and recommend that after an episode of heavy drinking, it’s advisable to refrain from drinking for 48 hours to allow the tissues in your body to recover.

What is a unit?

One alcohol unit is measured as 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol. The number of units in a drink is determined by the size and strength of the drink.

Unfortunately, it's not as simple as one drink, one unit, and the alcoholic content in the same types of drinks can vary a lot.

For more information on how to calculate units please visit the NHS Choices website.

Am I drinking too much?

Most people will be fine if they drink within the sensible limits for regular drinking, but for some people, drinking gradually gets out of control.

Psychological and physical dependence on alcohol can creep up on you, especially if you drink excessively on a regular basis.

Tolerance can gradually increase, meaning that you need more alcohol to reach the same state. In other words, if you feel that you are getting better at holding your drink that could be a sign of a developing problem.

Use this simple and confidential online test, to understand if you are drinking at a sensible level.

Alcohol and the law

There are strict laws governing the sale and consumption of alcohol in the UK.

The government website - GOV.UK - offers clear guidance on issues relating to drinking and young people, drink driving and drinking in public. A blood alcohol content calculator is also available which assists in working out when a person is 'alcohol free'. 

National support

If you are concerned about your own drinking or worried about a family member or friend and need help or advice, you should call the national drink helpline, Drinkline, on 0800 917 8282.

Local support

Step Forward

Step Forward is based at 189-195 High Street, Scunthorpe. It is a non-judgmental, recovery-focused service which will work with people using drugs or alcohol. Services offered include assessment advice, information, needle exchange, health, harm reduction advice and treatment and support.

Contact: 08081 430640 Opening hours are: Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm

Evening appointments are available until 7pm on a Monday and Wednesday.

For more information visit the Change Grow Live website.


DELTA provides outreach services for children and young people aged up to 19 affected by their own, or their parent's, drug or alcohol use. It offers telephone support, home visits and individual counselling as well as advice and information on alcohol and related issues.

22-24 Cole Street
DN15 6QS

01724 298528

Last reviewed: 26/07/2017

Contact Details

08081 430640
Step Forward
189-195 High Street
DN15 6EA

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm

Evening appointments are available until 7pm on a Monday and Wednesday