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Frimley Health Values Logo

The alcohol intervention team work across the Trust to help patients reduce their alcohol intake.

Alcohol related illness and injury puts a large strain on the NHS. Alcohol is the second-biggest risk factor for cancer, with only smoking resulting in a larger risk. Liver disease is one of the few major causes of premature mortality on the increase, with deaths going up by 40 per cent over the last decade. Up to 70 per cent of weekend admissions to emergency departments can be attributed to alcohol.

All patients are routinely asked to consider how much they drink when they are admitted to hospital. Patients considered to be at risk are either referred to the alcohol team or asked if they would like to receive advice.

Use the chart below to calculate your score. Scores of eight or above indicate you regularly drink above the guidelines. If you score 11 or 12, you may be alcohol dependant and require support from specialist services. Details of these services can be found down the right side of this page.

Question Score 0 Score 1 Score 2 Score 3 Score 4
How often do you have a drink containing alcohol? ever Monthly or less 2-4 times a month 2-3 times a week 4 or more times a week
How many units of alcohol do you drink on a typical day when you are drinking? 1-2 3-4 5-6 7-9 10+
How often have you had 6 (for a woman) / 8 (for a man) or more units on a single occasion in the last year? Never Less than monthly Monthly Weekly Daily or almost daily

So how much is a low risk amount for men and women?

Regularly drinking no more than 14 units a week, spread over at least three days.
If you drink above the low risk guidelines on a regular basis, this makes you at an increased risk of alcohol related harm.
You are more vulnerable to injury (slips, trips and falls), depression, insomnia, mood changes, lethargy, memory issues, high blood pressure, stroke, alcohol dependence, liver disease and various forms of cancer.
You may be shocked or surprised to find yourself in the more at risk category. Sometimes increased alcohol use can sneak up on you, especially if you have had stressful life events.
You may want to make changes - friends and family may have commented on your drinking - you may have thought 'I need to cut down'. Maybe you have missed work with one too many hangovers.

Know your number!

• Start to keep a record of your units by keeping a drink diary. Units can creep up without you realising.
• Start to notice days you may be more vulnerable to drinking more. When stressed, celebrating, socialising or feeling lonely or depressed.
• Set goals to stay within healthy limits and stick to your plan.
• Make sure you have eaten before you start to drink.
• Alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
• Avoid getting into rounds with friends.
• Never drink and drive.

Benefits of cutting down

• No hangovers
• Save money
• Improved mood
• Improved sleep
• More energy
• Weight loss
• Lower blood pressure
• Reduced risk of alcohol related illness

Be careful!

You may require professional support to stop drinking alcohol if you find yourself experiencing the following symptoms of physical withdrawal before you have had your first drink of the day:
• Sweating
• Shaking
• Nausea
• Anxiety

It can be dangerous to stop abruptly. A slow, gradual reduction is the safest option with appropriate support.