Facts

The risks of drinking

What are the risks?

For many people, alcohol drunk in moderation is not harmful to health. One to two units a day for women and two to three for men is not unhealthy. Drinking every day does, however, increase the risk of alcohol becoming a problem, so it's a good idea to have two days a week where you don't drink alcohol.

Excessive drinking can lead to various problems:

  • It can cause damage to the stomach lining, liver and brain. Read more
  • People who have drunk too much have a greater risk of an accident and become aggressive more quickly. Read more
  • People who frequently drink a lot of alcohol run a greater long-term risk of liver diseases and some types of cancer including mouth, throat, oesophagus, stomach, liver and intestines. Read more
  • Alcohol can cause social problems. Uninhibited behaviour towards partner, friends or co-workers can lead to irritation and quarrels or fights, and as a result, break-ups or the loss of one's job or home.
  • Short-term memory can be affected. This can lead to Korsakoff's syndrome or to alcohol dementia. Read more

Other risks:

  • Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to a smaller brain and lower birth weight of the baby. Heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. Read more
  • The combination of alcohol with narcotic drugs, stimulants or sleeping pills or tranquilisers is dangerous since these substances can intensify each other's effects. Read more