Recommended alcohol limits
No amount of alcohol is completely safe. How much you drink, how often and how long for all make a difference. Sticking to recommended limits will lower the risk to your health.
The NHS recommends that:
- men should not regularly drink more than three to four units of alcohol a day
- women should not regularly drink more than two to three units a day
'Regularly' means drinking this amount every day or most days of the week.
Use the NHS Choices link to find out how many units of alcohol are in your favourite drink.
To work out the number of alcohol units and calories you have consumed, use the unit and calorie calculator.
How alcohol affects your health
Drinking alcohol little and often can have some health benefits, but even small amounts can increase the risk of certain illnesses. You don’t always see the harm caused by alcohol until an illness has developed.
Most people know that alcohol can cause liver disease. Some of the less known health risks are:
- cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, bowel and female breast
- cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke
- mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- memory loss, brain damage and brain development problems in teenagers
- potentially fatal alcohol poisoning
- increased risk of catching common colds or more serious infections
- fertility problems
- sexual problems such as impotence or premature ejaculation
How to reduce your risk
To reduce the risk of alcohol to your health:
- drink in moderation. Binge drinking (ie more than eight units of alcohol for men and more than six for women) even on just one or two days a week is associated with long-term health risks such as heart disease, as well as leading to accidents and violence
- give your body a chance to recover if you do drink heavily. Don't drink for at least 48 hours after
- don't drink if you're on certain medication. Ask your GP or pharmacist for advice if you're not sure
- don't drink when you're pregnant. It can harm your baby
- don't mix alcohol with drugs. It's an important factor in drug-related deaths
Staying healthy during your pregnancy
Assess your drinking habits
To find out if you are drinking too much, you can use the alcohol self assessment tool on the Drink Aware website to calculate your risk.
Alcohol self assessment on Drink Aware website
Where to go for help
If you're worried about your drinking, there's plenty of help and support available on the Island. You can:
- call or email the Alcohol and Drug service to make a free appointment
- talk to your GP
- Contact Alcoholics Anonymous. They hold meetings where men and women share their experiences and give mutual support. You can call them on +44 (0) 1534 726681
Helping someone with an alcohol problem
If you're a family member, friend or partner of someone who’s drinking is affecting you, you can find support at AL-Anon Jersey Family Groups. They hold local meetings to support people affected by someone else’s drinking. You can call them on +44 (0) 1534 870924.
AL-Anon Family support on AL-Anon website
Support for families on AFDAM website
Helping someone with an alcohol or drug problem
The alcohol and licensing strategy for Jersey
In Jersey, we drink high levels of alcohol compared to other countries, including France and the UK.
The alcohol and licensing strategy recognises this and sets out to:
- reduce the high levels of alcohol consumed in Jersey
- reduce young people’s drinking and their access to alcohol
- help those who want to drink less
- reduce the rates of alcohol related offences and protect those at risk of those offences
- support business through an fair and transparent licensing system
- ensure interventions are evidence based and don't penalise businesses or sensible drinkers