Alcohol Misuse

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Below, you will find a short video and further information to help you


What is Alcohol Misuse?

Alcohol misuse is when you drink in a way that’s harmful, or when you’re dependent on alcohol. To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level, both men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week.

A unit of alcohol is 8g or 10ml of pure alcohol, which is about:

  • half a pint of lower to normal-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 3.6%)
  • a single small shot measure (25ml) of spirits (25ml, ABV 40%)

A small glass (125ml, ABV 12%) of wine contains about 1.5 units of alcohol.

Find out more about alcohol units

Specialist support

Below, you will find organisations and charities who are best suited to assist you

Alcohol Change UK

Alcohol Change UK’s national online conference: ensuring access for all to alcohol support


People come to AA through many different means... choose the path that best suits you.

Al-Anon Family Groups

Al-Anon Family Groups UK & Eire is there for anyone whose life is or has been affected by someone else’s drinking.

Treating alcohol misuse

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How alcohol misuse is treated depends on how much alcohol a person is drinking.

Treatment options include:

counselling – including self-help groups and talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)


detoxification – this involves a nurse or doctor supporting you to safely stop drinking; this can be done by helping you slowly cut down over time or by giving you medicines to prevent withdrawal symptoms

There are 2 main types of medicines to help people stop drinking.

The first is to help stop withdrawal symptoms and is given in reducing doses over a short period of time. The most common of these medicines is chlordiazapoxide (Librium).

The second is a medicine to reduce any urge you may have to drink. The most common medicines used for this are acamprosate and naltrexone.

These are both given at a fixed dose, and you’ll usually be on them for 6 to 12 months.

Further reading

Alcohol units

Carers Trust: caring for an alcoholic

Tips for cutting down on your drinking

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