When drinking at home, people are almost always more
generous, so it’s a good idea to get into the habit of using a spirit
Staying within the ‘safe’ limits does not mean that a person is
capable of driving a motor vehicle. When driving, it is best not to
drink at all.
Advice for pregnant women
are advised to drink no more than one to two units of alcohol once or
twice a week.
Heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause the baby to be born with a
condition known as foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
FAS causes growth deficiencies, central nervous system defects,
lowered IQ and facial malformations.
If I don't feel drunk, I don't have a problem -
tolerance can lead someone with a dangerously high consumption to be
falsely reassured that as long as they don’t feel drunk, they will be
fine. The reverse is true.
Needing a lot of alcohol to get drunk proves that you are already
drinking too much, too often.
Alcohol tolerance can be compared to a lack of the ability to feel
pain. If you didn't feel pain, you wouldn't immediately remove your
hand from a hot stove and notice it was burnt until it was too late.
If you have developed a tolerance for alcohol, you can no longer trust
your body's signals to tell you when you've had too much. Instead, you
will have to keep count of drinks to know when you've drunk too much.
How do I reduce how much I drink?
A person who
drinks too much may feel it is impossible for them to reduce their
If a drinking habit is very heavy, it is often hard work to reduce it
- simply because it is always difficult to change habits. You may not
even be sure whether you want to cut down.
Fortunately, there are many different ways to reduce alcohol
consumption and most people are able to find a way that suits them.
A step-by-step guide to reducing alcohol
Keep a record
of all alcohol consumption. Work on ways to make it easier to reduce
the alcohol intake.
Talking to a partner or friend could flag up some self-help ideas.
I can stop drinking alcohol
I can stop drinking alcohol
during the day at work.
I can substitute every
second drink with water, non-alcoholic beer, coffee or a soft drink.
I can take a different route
home, so I won't be tempted to visit a pub.
I can visit my family
instead of my drinking friends.
What if I can't reduce my drinking by myself?
It may be
difficult for a person to reduce their alcohol consumption without
outside assistance. There are several places where it is possible to
get help and counselling.
A doctor will be able to help by:
giving advice and drug
referring a heavy drinker to
a counsellor or an organisation that can provide help, such as
What about withdrawal symptoms?
For a very
heavy drinker, stopping alcohol abruptly can be dangerous.
In addition to the anxiety that abrupt withdrawal can cause, a small
proportion of people develop a potentially serious condition called
delirium tremens (DTs). This can cause confusion and even convulsions.
Patients at risk of DTs are best managed by planned withdrawal from
alcohol in hospital, along with supportive counselling and drug
therapy to counteract the physical effects.
Is there a drug to stop me drinking?
is a prescription-only medicine that's designed to deter people from
drinking. Antabuse does not remove the craving for alcohol, but it
will help a drinker avoid being tempted in a weak moment.
This is because if a person drinks while they are taking Antabuse, it
will cause serious and unpleasant symptoms such as:
a feeling of pressure in the
in the worst cases, shock
In the event of shock, treatment will be required from a doctor or in
a hospital emergency department.
Will it help me?
For some people, Antabuse is a good idea and a safety measure.
Ex-drinkers who have used Antabuse say it is a relief to know they
It allows alcoholics to focus on things other than not drinking too
However, Antabuse is a controversial medicine. It does not help
everyone who takes it, nor is it the only way to give up alcohol.
Acamprosate is another drug that may be helpful to deter drinking. It
works in the brain where it is thought to act by reducing the desire
to drink alcohol. It doesn’t produce the same effect that Antabuse
does if alcohol is consumed.
I think I have a drink problem. How do I find
If you drink
more than the recommended amount and you find it difficult to cut
down, there are several places you can turn to for advice and
Make an appointment with your doctor and be honest with him
He/she can refer you to clinics where you will find specialists who
What help can I get at a
You may know you need help
cutting down and want to go directly into treatment.
You may want to speak to
people at the clinic to judge the seriousness of your problem or
get advice about what possibilities are open to you.
You can also make contact
if you are worried about one of your relatives or friends, who you
think may have a drink problem.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
Anonymous is the world's biggest union of self-help groups concerned
with alcohol abuse.
The therapy in these groups takes place without the interference of
public bodies, doctors, psychologists or other professionals.
Attending the meetings is on a voluntary basis. The only requirement
is an honest desire to quit drinking. You will meet people who have
been through the same hardships as yourself.
You can contact AA on 0044 845 769 7555
Alcoholics Anonymous - 0044 148