Reducing your drinking

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Cutting back on alcohol can improve your mental and physical wellbeing. There are plenty of practical ways you can start to cut down and stay on track.

When you’re trying to reduce the amount you’re drinking it’s important to know how to start reducing it safely and how to stay motivated to and how to keep going.

Alcohol and its effects vary from person to person, especially as we age. It’s important to remember that if you have health problems or use illicit drugs or medications (including over the counter medicines) these can also affect how much you are able to drink.

The government has recommended guidelines on alcohol use and these are measured in units. Measuring in units may not come naturally to you – so sometimes it is easier to think about units in terms of actual alcoholic drinks that you’re familiar with.

The government recently set new alcohol guidelines. Guidelines for men and women are now the same and recommend that:

  • you should not regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week
  • you spread the 14 units over at least three days of the week
  • you try to have regular alcohol free days

Also to reduce the short-term health risks of drinking (such as injuries from falling over) try to limit the amount you drink in one sitting, drink slowly, try to drink with food and space your drinks with water or soft drinks.

Finally, no known level of drinking is completely safe. (especially in terms of illnesses such as cancer).

If you'd like to find out how much you're drinking why not take this short test? 

The Drink Checker test

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