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The relationship between alcohol and mental wellbeing
People who drink alcohol do so for a range of reasons. Some people drink alcohol because they enjoy it, to celebrate an occasion, unwind, change their mood or manage difficult feelings, such as stress, loneliness or low mood.
Drinking too much alcohol over a long period of time can negatively affect your mental health. Sometimes people who are experiencing poor mental health can turn to drinking alcohol to help them cope. Either way, drinking excess alcohol long term can damage both your physical and mental health.
Drinking alcohol is never completely safe, but if you do drink, by following some simple expert advice, you can reduce the risk of harms to your health from alcohol.
Find out more about alcohol, how it affects your mood and how to keep your risks low. See our self-help resources below.
To keep the risks of drinking alcohol low it is best not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week. This is about six pints of 4% strength beer OR four 250ml glasses of wine a week. If you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week, it is best to spread your drinking out over the week and have some alcohol free days.
If you find that you are drinking alcohol to manage difficult feelings, you may find it helpful to get involved in activities going on in your local area instead. Find out what’s going on in your area by visiting our ‘in your area’ page.
There are simple things we can all do to help look after our mental health. Some people find that taking part in more positive health behaviours, such as physical activity, can help them manage an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Visit our ‘looking after yourself’ section for more information and advice.
Relying on alcohol to manage life’s problems is not a long-term solution. There is free, non-judgemental help and support available for people who are worried about their drinking and/or the drinking of others see our ‘helplines’ section below.
Last updated: 07.03.2023
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