Alcohol misuse

Alcohol misuse is when you drink in a way that’s harmful, or when you’re dependent on alcohol

To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level, both men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week.

For some people alcohol can be part of many occasions but like many drugs it’s addictive, both physically and psychologically. It is estimated that around 9% of men in the UK and 3% of UK women show signs of alcohol dependence. This means that drinking alcohol becomes an important, or sometimes the most important, factor in their life and they feel they’re unable to function without it.

If you are worried that you or someone you know has is abusing or misusing alcohol there are many ways to get help.

General guidance to help with alcohol misuse

Am I drinking too much alcohol?

You could be misusing alcohol if:

  • you feel you should cut down on your drinking
  • other people have been criticising your drinking
  • you feel guilty or bad about your drinking
  • you need a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover

Someone you know may be misusing alcohol if:

  • they regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week
  • they’re sometimes unable to remember what happened the night before because of their drinking
  • they fail to do what was expected of them as a result of their drinking (for example, missing an appointment or work because they’re drunk or hungover)

Further links and resources for alcohol misuse

Living Well Drugs and Alcohol–alcohol

If you drink more than the recommended amount and want help to cut down on your alcohol intake.  The NHS has some good guidance on cutting down your alcohol and also information about the risks, symptoms and treatment of alcohol misuse.

As well as the NHS, there are a number of charities and support groups across the UK that provide support and advice for people with an alcohol misuse problem

For example, you may want to contact: