Alcohol misuse happens when you drink in a harmful way or depend entirely on alcohol. Men and women should consume no more than 14 units of alcohol per week.
One unit is 10ml/8g of pure alcohol, which is about:
- Half a pint of lower to regular strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 3.6%)
- One small shot measure 25ml of spirits (25ml, ABV 40%)
A glass of wine contains 1.5 units of alcohol (125ml, ABV 12%)
Low-risks drinking advise
To reduce the risks of alcohol-related harm:
- Men and women should consume no more than 14 units of alcohol per week.
- It’s best to spread the 14 units evenly over three or more days a week.
- When you are trying to lower your alcohol consumption, having several alcohol-free days a week is better.
- When trying for pregnancy or if you are pregnant, the safest approach is to avoid alcohol altogether to keep the risks to your baby.
Your health risks will increase by drinking any amount of alcohol regularly.
Alcohol misuse risks
Short-term risks are:
- Injuries and accidents
- Violent behavior or being the victim of violence
- Unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STI)
- Losing personal possessions
- Alcohol poisoning (can lead to fits, vomiting, and falling unconscious)
People who binge drink are more likely to behave recklessly and be a part of an accident.
Long-term alcohol misuse can increase the risks of severe health conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Liver cancer
- Bowel cancer
- Mouth cancer
- Breast cancer
A dependent drinker may experience psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms, including:
Alcohol misuse treatments
The treatments depend on the person’s alcohol consumption, but the standard treatments are::
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (counseling)
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022