Alcohol Awareness Week is running from 11th – 17th November 2019, led by Alcohol Change UK.

It is important for us all to be aware of the impact that alcohol may have on our bodies (see diagram), our lives and on those we love.

Making changes to any unhealthy drinking behaviour can therefore reduce the risks of many serious health conditions including cancer, mental health problems, and liver disease.

The national picture on alcohol-related harm shows that:

  • Each year, alcohol is a factor in the deaths of 24,000 people in the UK. It is the biggest risk factor for deaths among 15-49 year olds.
  • Hospital admissions due to alcoholic liver disease in England have increased by 43% in the last 10 years.
  • In England there are more than half a million dependent drinkers. Less than 20% are receiving treatment.
  • Around 200,000 children in England are living with an alcohol-dependent parent or carer, which can have lifelong negative effects on their health and wellbeing.
  • Each year alcohol misuse is estimated to cost the NHS £3.5 billion as well as having a huge impact on the number of working days lost.

Knowing how much is too much can sometimes be confusing when it comes to alcohol.  In January 2016, the Chief Medical Officer published ‘low-risk’ drinking guidelines to help give us a steer about how we can minimise the risks associated with drinking.

What do the low-risk guidelines say?

The guidelines for both men and women state that:

  • You are safest not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week. 14 units means roughly six pints of lager or one-and-a-half bottles of wine.
  • It is best to spread this drinking over three days or more during the week.
  • A good way to keep the risk low is to have several alcohol-free days each week.
  • If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.

If you are concerned about your drinking or think that your alcohol intake may be above the recommended guidelines, please remember that there is always somewhere to turn for support. This is a common problem and your GP will be pleased to help by providing confidential advice and, if appropriate, they will also refer you for extra support.

For further information, please visit Alcohol Change UK

Whether you are concerned about your alcohol intake, or any other any aspect of your health, our experienced GPs at The Walcote Practice can help. To book an appointment, please call 01962 828175 or email