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Alcohol and Responsible Drinking

Alcohol and Responsible drinking


Drinking alcohol is a common practice for many, and for most people occasional use does not get in the way of functioning. However sometimes excessive use does interfere and can lead to negative consequences. Learning to recognise potential warning signs of alcohol dependence or over-use is an important aspect of drinking responsibly.

Some warning signs to look out for

  • Drinking in order to avoid problems or painful/difficult emotions
  • Drinking alone
  • Binge drinking
  • Drinking to decrease nervousness or anxiety
  • Having to drink more and more to achieve the desired effect
  • Diminished performance, missing morning appointments
  • Depression
  • Sleeping problems
  • Unwanted sex or sexual difficulites
  • Increased relationship problems
  • Slow breathing pulse or low body temperature
  • Needing a drink to feel normal
  • Dry skin / broken veins
  • Poor concentration

Tips for safe and responsible drinking

  • Plan ahead. Think how you would like to feel and behave that night and the next day. Decide how many drinks you can safely handle. Ask someone you trust to support you in this
  • Eat a meal prior to going out which will slow down the absorbtion of alcohol into the bloodstream
  • Alternate alcoholic with non-alcoholic drinks, other people may assume a soft drink is a mixer
  • Drink slowly
  • Choose activities where alcohol isn't the focus of the evening
  • Don't feel pressured, say no thanks, plead work, sports practice or medication if necessary

Department of health guidelines for maximum consumption per day

Men 3-4 units Women 2-3 units

What is a unit?

  • 1 pint of beer can be between 2 and 3 units
  • 1 shot = 1 unit
  • 1 glass wine (175ml 12%) = 2.1 units

Remember drinks poured at home are often bigger than pub measures.

You can track your units or get personalised advice using the NHS IPhone App: Track your units and make changes with Drinkaware.

How to talk to someone who has a drinking problem

  • Plan what you will say. Think of an objective, non attacking and non-blaming approach
  • Stick to facts and give concrete examples of any problematic behaviour
  • Know where to refer for help
  • Predict that he/she will not like what you are saying
  • Expect that you will have to address the problem more than once
  • Remember change takes time and you cannot force the issue
  • Check out 'supporting a friend' on this website

Too much alcohol in too short a period of time can result in alcohol poisoning that slows the body processes to such an extent that it can lead to death

Drink responsibly and you can have fun, remember it in the morning and still have some money in your pocket that you might otherwise not have

For more information/support: (alcohol service for adults)

Compass (alcohol service for young people) 0800 121 4043 email: (N.B. from 1st August 2018 this service will be provided instead by Change Grow Live (CGL): 07741077976

Alcoholics anonymous 08457697555 (national alcohol helpline)

Drinkline 08009178282 (National alcohol helpline)

For women:


Self-help references

Self-help booklet on alcohol misuse


The following references are available from the University Library either in hard copy, CD or ebooks. Most are readily available to buy either in bookshops or over the internet. There are also a limited number of books in the Learning Grid and the Bio-med Grid.


The Addiction workbook

Fanning and O’Neill

Group West

Adult Children of Alcoholics



Let’s Drink to Your Health

Robertson and Heather


Easy Way to Control Alcohol

Allen Carr


Click here for a comprehensive list of other references please visit for Self Help Information by subject and categories

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