If you regularly drink more than 14 units a week, try these simple tips to help you cut down.
Fourteen units is equivalent to six pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.
Make a plan
Before you start drinking, set a limit on how much you're going to drink.
Set a budget
Only take a fixed amount of money to spend on alcohol.
Let them know
If you let your friends and family know you're cutting down and it's important to you, you could get support from them.
Take it a day at a time
Cut back a little each day. That way, every day you do is a success.
Make it a smaller one
You can still enjoy a drink, but go for smaller sizes. Try bottled beer instead of pints, or a small glass of wine instead of a large one.
Have a lower-strength drink
Cut down the alcohol by swapping strong beers or wines for ones with a lower strength (ABV in %). You'll find this information on the bottle.
Have a glass of water before you have alcohol and alternate alcoholic drinks with water or a soft drink.
Take a break
Have several drink-free days each week.
Benefits of cutting down
The immediate effects of cutting down include:
- feeling better in the mornings
- being less tired during the day
- your skin may start to look better
- you'll start to feel fitter
- you may stop gaining weight
Long-term benefits include:
There's a strong link between heavy drinking and depression, and hangovers often make you feel anxious and low. If you already feel anxious or sad, drinking can make this worse, so cutting down may put you in a better mood generally.
Drinking can affect your sleep. Although it can help some people fall asleep quickly, it can disrupt your sleep patterns and stop you sleeping deeply. So cutting down on alcohol should help you feel more rested when you wake up.
Drinking can affect your judgement and behaviour. You may behave irrationally or aggressively when you're drunk. Memory loss can be a problem during drinking and in the long term for regular heavy drinkers.
Long-term heavy drinking can lead to your heart becoming enlarged. This is a serious condition that can't be completely reversed, but stopping drinking can stop it getting worse.
Regular drinking can affect your immune system. Heavy drinkers tend to catch more infectious diseases.
Find out more
- Alcohol Concern unit calculator
- Get alcohol support
- How much is a unit of alcohol?
- Prevent alcohol poisoning
Article provided by NHS Choices