What is alcohol misuse?

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Most people don’t develop problems with alcohol but some do, and for a variety of reasons. This can cause difficulties for individuals, their health, their families, and at work, school, or college.

Problematic use of alcohol can include drinking a bit too much a bit too often, regular heavy drinking, binge drinking or dependency and addiction. If you often drink more than the recommended lower risk alcohol guidelines (no more than 14 units a week for men and women, spread over 3 or more days), you may be misusing alcohol. Whether you are concerned about your own drinking or about a friend or family member, support is available to help you cut down, give up, or support someone else - see our Support available page for more information

If you regularly drink more than the recommended guidelines over a long period, there are the following risks:

  • men could be four times more likely to have high blood pressure
  • women could be three times more likely to suffer a stroke
  • liver damage, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer
  • cancer of the mouth, throat cancer, cancer of the oesophagus or larynx, and breast cancer in women
  • increased risk of heart disease and stroke
  • depression, memory loss, brain damage or dementia
  • stomach damage
  • potentially fatal alcohol poisoning.

For more information visit the One You website.