How Much Alcohol Is Too Much?

Learn more about the recommended alcohol limits and about binge drinking.

What are the recommended limits? 

There is no recommended limit for young people under the age of 18. Teenagers are still growing and developing so medical experts say that it is better not to drink alcohol.

For people over the age of 18, NHS Health Scotland advise that people should drink no more than 14 units per week. And if you do drink 14 units a week this should be spread evenly over three days or more.

And no, you can't save up all your daily units to use at the weekend. 

These figures can only be used as a rough guide. Your actual body size, gender, the speed at which you drink, what you eat, age - all of these factors all affect the way you absorb alcohol and the impact it has on your body.

What are the effects of drinking too much? 

Drinking too much alcohol can affect your appearance and your health so it’s important to stick within the daily amount recommended by health experts. 

Alcohol can be fattening, can affect your appearance by adding weight, and dehydrate your skin, making it look pale and tired.

Alcohol can also have a long-term effect on your health and lead to addiction, depression and heart disease.

Some people drink to avoid things - they could have lost somebody close to them and are trying to cope, or they could have other feelings they are trying to bury. It's important to learn how to cope. 

What is binge drinking? 

Binge drinking is when you drink a huge amount of alcohol in a short space of time.

The amount of alcohol that counts as a binge is lower than people tend to think. NHS Health Scotland say that drinking more than eight units in one night for men, and six units for women is binge drinking. Doing this on a regular basis damages your body.

More help & information 

We Are With You - free confidential support with alcohol or drugs. You can chat to them online.

Al-anon- Support for the families affected by someone else's alcohol problems.

Talk to Frank - Find out more about the effects of alcohol, the risks and the law. 

Head back to the Choices For Life landing page.