Advice for taking care of your physical health

Alcohol advice

This information is designed to help people to adopt a healthier lifestyle through taking some simple steps. It includes why changes should be made and the support available to help achieve it. Here we are looking at alcohol.

We often drink alcohol to change our mood, unwind, relax and reduce stress, particularly in difficult and anxious times. Occasional light drinking is perfectly healthy and enjoyable for many people. However, the after effects of alcohol can make you feel more stressed and can impact on how we function in our everyday life and our relationships with others.

Drinking more alcohol than recommended can cause many negative effects on health. Alongside the long term effects, such as increased risk of serious health conditions, there can be more immediate health issues such as a negative impact on sleep and mental health.

Excessive alcohol use can weaken the body’s immune system and make people more vulnerable to infections. 

Here are a few simple tips to help:

  • Drink and think in units - the recommended limit is to not drink more than 14 units a week; that means about six pints of lager or a bottle and a half of wine 
  • Keep a drinking diary - keeping a drinking diary for a few weeks will help you understand your drinking pattern, so you can work out what you’re happy with and what you’re not
  • Pace yourself - enjoy each drink slowly. It can help to only drink the drinks you really enjoy and skip the ones you’re drinking for the sake of it 
  • Try drinking low alcohol and alcohol-free drinks
  • Stay hydrated - have a glass of water before you have alcohol and alternate alcoholic drinks with water or other non-alcoholic drinks
  • Eat before and while you drink - have something to eat before you drink and, if possible, while drinking. It will slow down the alcohol being absorbed into your bloodstream and help you pace yourself
  • Manage your weight - alcohol contains lots of calories. Calories from alcohol are 'empty calories', they have no nutritional value
  • Have a few days off every week - having a few alcohol-free days each week is a good way to cut down and give your body a rest
  • It’s fine to say 'no' - not everyone drinks alcohol and it's fine to say 'no'. It’s surprising how many people think it’s OK to pressure other people to drink – it’s not

Call Drinkline, which is the national alcohol helpline, if you are worried about your own or someone else’s drinking. Call free on 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm and weekends 11am to 4pm).

Rehab 4 Addiction ( is a free drug and alcohol addiction helpline to help those affected by addiction.

Last updated: 15/03/2023 15:09