Advice for heavy drinkers who are thinking about cutting back or stopping drinking alcohol

Advice for heavy drinkers who are thinking about cutting back or stopping drinking alcohol

Is this advice for me?

This advice is intended to help you understand your drinking levels and avoid any serious alcohol withdrawal symptoms should you plan to reduce or stop your drinking. We want to help you cut back in a planned way in order to improve your health in the short and long term.

Reducing how much you drink improves your health and wellbeing, and the more you drink the more you will benefit from cutting down. However, if you drink heavily, this reduction must be done carefully. You should use alcohol support services available if you are planning to reduce your drinking, particularly if you are drinking over 30 units per day, which is around a bottle of spirits, 3 bottles of wine, 7 cans of strong lager (7.5% or more) or 4 litres of white cider. Withdrawal symptoms and complications are more likely at this very high level of consumption.

This advice is to help you, your family and friends self-manage alcohol reduction and/or withdrawal as safely as possible. If you are on your own with children, you will need extra support. If possible, you should speak to any professional who is supporting your family and get advice from your local addiction service before you start to cut down.

If you are pregnant or think you could become pregnant the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep the risk to the baby to a minimum and to keep yourself healthy. If you are pregnant and concerned about alcohol, please discuss with your midwife or other staff supporting you as soon as you can.


This is updated guidance, originally published in April 2020 to support heavy drinkers thinking about cutting back or stopping drinking alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Created Date: 7th Mar 2022
Last Updated: 7th Mar 2022