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Alcohol and Responsible Drinking

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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 difficulties
  • 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.

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

Useful resources

At the University of Warwick

For students the University of Warwick.  

Other Resources

Self-help booklet  
CGL (Change Grow Live)

Drugs and alcohol service for young people

02476 010241

Alcoholics anonymous 08457697555 (national alcohol helpline)  
Drinkline 08009178282 (National alcohol helpline)    
Down your Drink Online resources to help you cut down drinking Website Website and app which can be used to track consumption


Wash my Pink Jumper

Charity service, for women  
Available from the University Library:    
The Addiction workbook Useful book to work through if you want to quit drinking or
using drugs
Fanning and O’Neill
Adult Children of Alcoholics Book which explores the impact of growing up with an alcoholic parent Woititz
Let’s Drink to Your Health Helpful book if you want to change your drinking patterns,
includes tips for cutting down and drink diaries
Robertson and Heather
Easy Way to Control Alcohol Popular book, useful if you’re considering giving up alcohol Allen Carr

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