How Much is Too Much?

For many people, drinking alcohol is an enjoyable, social activity. But drinking too much alcohol affects both physical and mental wellbeing. It's very easy to start off drinking socially - and end up drinking more than is healthy. For 1 in 3 of us, our 'social' drinking is actually harmful drinking

‘Alcohol related harm’ can be defined as any level of drinking above recommended guidelines.

The lower-risk guidelines are defined by the NHS as drinking no more than 14 units per week for men and women. Drinking above recommended guidelines presents different types of health problems:

  • Drinking between 22–50 units (men) or 15–35 units (women) per week – is defined as ‘Increasing Risk’ – likely to raise risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes by up to twice as much compared to drinking within guidelines
  • Drinking over 50 units (men) or over 35 units (women) per week – is defined as ‘High Risk’ – likely to raise risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes by up to 3–10 times as much compared to drinking within guidelines
  • Regularly drinking three pints of beer or three glasses of wine four times a week would put you in the High Risk category.

Unfortunately, keeping track of your drinking is not easy and many people are simply unaware of the risks.

Alcohol is everyone’s concern. In the context of work, not only does it damage the misuser’s health, but it can cost employers through absenteeism and reduced productivity

— Health & Safety Executive 


How Can Employers Protect Employees from Alcohol-Related Harm?

NICE and World Health Organisation evidence shows that helping people understand exactly how much they drink and what that means for their health leads to behaviour change. 

Providing employees with information to assess their own drinking levels helps them to better understand the health risks and cut down if needed. 

Having an up to date alcohol policy and embedding alcohol health promotion as part of a general package of health promotion is associated with reduced alcohol problems at work.


What are the Benefits of Alcohol Awareness?

The benefits of providing employees with alcohol awareness information are clear:  


It’s good for employees:

  • 1 in 4 UK workers drink above NHS guidelines and with appropriate information and advice, a significant proportion would cut down

  • Making healthy drinking choices improves sleep, saves money and reduces the risk of several serious diseases, including cancer, heart disease and stroke - however many people are unaware of this connection

  • Drinking can often be used as a means to de-stress when it is actually a depressant. Making healthy drinking choices can reduce the chance of experiencing a mental health problem

  • Employees who know they can come forward to seek support are more likely to act early


It’s good for business:

  • 17million sick days are lost in the UK per year due to alcohol misuse
  • £6.4 billion lost each year to UK businesses due to alcohol misuse
  • 167,000 working years lost in 2015 due to alcohol, more than 10 most common cancers combined


Get in Touch

For more information about any of our Alcohol Awareness Events or Training for your workplace, please email or call us on 020 3151 2420



Alcohol Awareness Events & Training

Make Alcohol Awareness part of your Workplace Wellbeing Calendar.