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NHS Kingston

Managing alcohol

Excess alcohol consumption is a major public health problem in Kingston, with estimated figures showing one in four of us consume alcohol at increased or higher risk levels.

To what extent does alcohol really affect your health?

People who regularly drink more than the recommended limits are more likely to experience poor health. Alcohol plays a role in more than 60 health conditions. 

In the UK, most of the people who will die because of their drinking are not alcoholics. Instead they are drinkers whose habit of regular drinking over a number of years has contributed to the damage of their health and shortening of their lives.

Many of us are aware of the potential liver damage associated with heavy drinking and the short-term consequences such as memory loss and dehydration, but alcohol can cause other damage you can't see.

For example, a woman drinking more than two large glasses of wine (or six units) a day increases her risk of contracting breast cancer by 60% and is twice as likely to suffer from high blood pressure compared to a non-drinker.

A man drinking four pints of beer a day (or eight units), or more, could be two to four times as likely to suffer from high blood pressure, compared to a non-drinker.

What are the daily recommended limits?

The daily recommended limits are 3 to 4 units a day for men and 2 to 3 units a day for women. To put this in context, a 175ml glass of wine (13% ABV) is 2.3 units and a pint of beer (5% ABV) is 2.8 units.

Try out the alcohol calculator to see how much you're drinking or download the leaflet ‘Units and You’ for more information.

How can I cut down?

There are a number of steps you can take straight away. Here are a few pointers:

  • Make it a smaller one: you can still enjoy a drink but have less. Try smaller glasses of wine or bottled beer instead of a pint.
  • Have a lower strength drink: cut down your units by swapping a strong strength beer or wine for one with a lower ABV.
  • Take a break: have the odd day here and there when you don't have a drink.

Where can I go for more advice or help?

  • Speak to your GP. Your GP might not be the first person you think of to discuss your drinking but they can help you look at the amount you currently drink and provide advice for cutting down.  They can also refer you to more specialised alcohol services in the Kingston area.
  • Join the Kingston’s Down Your Drink programme  - It's free, run by the NHS and contains various resources to help you make up your mind whether you want to make some changes. You can use the website on its own, or opt in to receive some brief motivational phone calls from a professional to help you stick to your goals
  • If you’d like to speak to someone anonymously about your own drinking, or you’re worried about a friend or family member’s drinking, call Drinkline: 0800 917 8282.

NHS Kingston is  committed to working in partnership with the Strategic Partnership for Alcohol and Drugs to reduce drug and alcohol related harm  to individuals, their families and the local community . We  aim to do this by raising awareness of the dangers of substance misuse and providing support to people who are experiencing problems related to drug or alcohol misuse and those caring for them.

Check out the Kingston Council website to find out more about drugs and alcohol in Kingston. This website has been designed to make it easy for service users, family members and friends or concerned others to find out where to go for advice, help and support.  

Or check out the Drink Aware website for further information.








Kingston Clinical Commissioning Group, 2nd floor, Thames House,
180 High Street, Teddington, TW11 8HU
Tel: 020 39419900

NHS 111 NHS Choices