Alcohol and you

There are many reasons why people drink and it can have many effects. Understanding your drinking behaviour and its impacts can help you minimise the risks.

Why you drink

Knowing why you drink can help you stay in control.

It’s fun with friends

Many people are "social drinkers" – and in Greater Manchester alcohol plays an important role in our vibrant nightlife and thriving communities. But drinking in social situations can lead you to drink more, and more regularly, than you might intend or realise.

Because I’m stressed

Alcohol affects your brain and nervous system, helping you feel less anxious or stressed when you drink. But while alcohol may help you deal with stress in the short term, it can’t address the causes of your worries. Over a longer period, drinking can actually build feelings of depression and anxiety and make your stress levels higher.

Because I’m bored

It is not uncommon to use alcohol to relieve feelings of boredom. It can act as a stimulant, helping to pass the time when you’ve nothing to do or overcome feelings of loneliness when on your own. But alcohol could be affecting your mood and motivation, making it harder to do other things you enjoy and affecting your relationships.

It helps me relax

After a tiring day, many people find a drink in front of the telly or in the pub with some friends a good way to relax. While studies have shown that alcohol can have positive short-term effects on your mood, if you regularly drink to relax you could be going beyond recommended lower-risk levels and forming a habit.

I enjoy it

There’s no denying, drinking can be fun. It can help you relax and feel more confident, and fuels many social situations. But drink too much, and you can feel quite different. And when the alcohol wears off, and the changes it causes in your body return to normal, the fun can turn to shame and fear.

It’s a habit

By drinking regularly over a period of time, your drinking can become a habit – something you do without thinking. Alcohol could have more control over you than you have over alcohol. You don’t need to be drinking to extreme levels. Just through regular, moderate drinking you could have become dependent.

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How many calories are you drinking?

With over 600 calories in a bottle of wine, every glass you drink is like eating a piece of chocolate. Drinking 5 pints of strong lager, meanwhile, adds over 1000 calories to your diet. Cutting back on your drinking can have a noticeable impact on your waistline, and help avoid more serious health problems caused by being overweight.

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Did you know...?


Almost 1 in 3 men drank alcohol in the last week


Just over half of women drank alcohol in the last week


More than 1 in 10 people drank on five or more days in the last week


Both men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week


You should spread your drinking over 3 or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week

7 - 14

units is the equivalent of 7 pints of average strength beer or 7 medium glasses of average strength wine


Over a quarter of men drink more than 14 units a week


Around 1 in 7 women drink more than 14 units a week

55 - 64

People aged 55 to 64 are most likely to drink more than 14 units a week


More than a quarter of adults in higher income households drink more than 14 units in a usual week