If you are worried about your alcohol use or concerned about a loved one who drinks too much, you can find out more about alcohol units, alcohol risks and alcohol support services in Portsmouth below.

How much is too much?

Units are used to measure the amount of alcohol in different drinks. Alcoholic drinks are served in different measures and have different strengths so it is useful to know how many units are in your drink.

No-one can say that drinking alcohol is absolutely safe, but by sticking within these guidelines, you can lower your risk of harming your health if you drink most weeks:

  • Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week.
  • Spread your drinking over three days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week.
  • Try to have at least 2-3 alcohol free days a week.

Count up your units using Drink Aware's unit calculator.

What are the risks of drinking? 

RiskMenWomenCommon Effects  

Lower risk

No more than 3-4 units per day on a regular basis

No more than 2-3 units per day on a regular basis

Increased relaxation, sociability, reduced risk of heart disease (for men over 40 and post menopausal women)

Increasing risk

More than 3-4 units per day on a regular basis

More than 2-3 units per day on a regular basis

Progressively increasing risk of: low energy, depression, insomnia, impotence, high blood pressure, memory loss, cancer, liver disease, alcohol dependence

Higher risk

More than 8 units per day on a regular basis or more than 50 units per week

More than 6 units per day on a regular basis or more than 35 units per week

Why should I reduce my alcohol intake?

Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink will benefit you greatly, and others around you. You will be healthier and wealthier, plus all of the below!

Physical benefits of reducing drinking

  • you reduce your risk of injury
  • you reduce your risk of high blood pressure
  • you reduce your risk of cancer
  • you reduce your risk of liver disease
  • you sleep better
  • you have more energy
  • you may lose weight
  • you won’t have hangovers
  • you improve your memory
  • you reduce your risk of impotence

Social, financial and wellbeing benefits

  • you improve your mood
  • you save money
  • you have better relationships
  • you have less emotional strain with your family
  • you reduce your risk of offending
  • you reduce your risk of being in a vulnerable situation
  • you reduce your risk of being a victim of a violent or sexual assault
  • you will have more time to do this thing you want to do
  • your children will be less likely to be heavy drinkers

Change 4 life has much more on how to cut back on your alcohol intake.

Where can I get help? 

There are confidential services available to help you address your alcohol use and either cut down or stop drinking. There are a range of services in Portsmouth including alcohol workers in doctor’s surgeries who offer drop in sessions, one-to-one counselling and group sessions. There are also services for detoxification and residential rehabilitation.

The Wellbeing Service

Portsmouth City Council's Wellbeing Service is a 'one stop shop' for getting help with giving up smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and maintaining a healthy weight.

We can offer you real support and advice on reducing your alcohol intake. You'll be able to learn techniques to change your behaviour to make a long-term positive health choice.

You can contact the Wellbeing Service directly or be referred through your GP. Telephone 023 9229 4001 or email wellbeing@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.

The Recovery Hub 

The Recovery Hub is a service for people and their families who are actively seeking recovery from drugs and/or alcohol. We empower people to take control of their lives and seek their own recovery within the community.

We offer self-referral assessment days on Monday to Thursday 9am-5pm and Friday 9am-4.30pm at The Recovery Hub, Campion Place, 44-46 Elm Grove, Southsea, PO5 1JG.

Phone us on 023 9229 4573 or email recovery.hub@ssj.org.uk.

Useful links

  • Alcoholics Anonymous are concerned with the personal recovery and continued sobriety of alcoholics. Call 0845 120 0660 or visit their website.
  • The Safer Portsmouth Partnership is the key anti-crime and substance misuse partnership for Portsmouth.
  • Drinkaware is a charity that works to reduce alcohol misuse and harm in the UK.

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