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 or more days 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 Drinkaware'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?

If you drink at the 'increasing risk' or 'higher risk' levels shown above then reducing the amount of alcohol you drink will have great benefits to you and others around you. See below for the different benefits it can have.

Physical benefits of reducing drinking

By reducing the amount you drink you can reduce your risk of injury, high blood pressure, cancer, liver disease and impotence for men.

You'll sleep better, have more energy, improve your memory, avoid hangovers and you may lose weight as alcohol is high in calories. 

Social, financial and wellbeing benefits  

Drinking less alcohol will help improve your mood, save you money and help you to have better relationships. You'll have more time to do the things you want to do and if you have children they'll be less likely to drink heavily.

You can reduce your risk of offending, being in a vulnerable situation and being a victim of a violent or sexual assault. You will also reduce the emotional strain on your family.

In the documents section below are 10 tips to help you reduce your drinking. One You also has lots of advice to help you cut back on your alcohol intake and the NHS has an alcohol support page

Where can I get help? 

There are lots of different services and support available to help you cut down or stop drinking. See below for the different options and what might work best for you.  

One You Drink Free Days app 

The Drink Free Days app is a simple way to help you track how many days you're drinking. Pledge to take a few days off each week and you'll get practical daily support to help you stick with your goals. It's a free app. Download on the App Store or get it on Google Play. 

The Wellbeing Service

The Portsmouth Wellbeing Service can support you to cut down on your drinking through one-to-one or group sessions. You can make an appointment or attend a drop-in clinic. The service is based at GP surgeries and community venues across Portsmouth and is free. The Wellbeing Service can also help you to quit smoking or lose weight if you need support with this. Contact them on 023 9229 4001 or email wellbeing@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.

Family Support Project 

The Family Support Project is a 12 week programme in Portsmouth for families with children under 18 where a parent/parents or carer/careers are struggling to cope without alcohol or are drinking most days. A specialist worker will support the whole family by helping to identify what changes they want to make as a family and supporting them to make these together. This could include doing activities together as a family, support with parenting and increasing understanding about the impact of drinking too much. This service is free.

The Family Support Worker will also work directly with the children to help them express how they feel when their parent or carer drinks.

Contact the Family Support Project by calling 0800 138 0355, texting 07854 563004 or emailing family.support@ssj.org.uk

The Recovery Hub 

The Recovery Hub provides access to a wide range of support for people experiencing problems with drugs and/or alcohol. The service is open access so appointments are not necessary.

Through the Recovery Hun, you can access prescribing services, one to one support, counselling and can also be assessed for detox and rehab services.

Their Recovery Workers also visit people where they live as part of the recovery support offered.

Visit them at Campion Place, 44-46 Elm Grove, Southsea, PO5 1JG. They're open Monday to Thursday 9am-5pm and Friday 9am-4.30pm.

Or call 023 9229 4573 or email recovery.hub@ssj.org.uk.

Useful links

  • Alcoholics Anonymous are concerned with the personal recovery and continued sobriety of people dependant on alcohol. 
  • Drinkline is the national alcohol helpline. If you're worried about your own or someone else's drinking, you can call this free helpline in complete confidence. Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).
  • Rebound is a confidential, friendly support group for carers or family members affected by a loved one's drinking or drug taking. 
  • The Safer Portsmouth Partnership is the key anti-crime and substance misuse partnership for Portsmouth.
  • Drinkaware is an alcohol education charity that works to reduce alcohol misuse and harm in the UK by helping people make better choices about their drinking. 
  • Alcohol Change UK is a UK alcohol charity. Their website has lots of information about alcohol and details of help and support available. They also run Dry January where you go alcohol free for the month.