Alcohol Unit Calculator

Please use a desktop computer to view the Alcohol Unit Calculator

What is the Alcohol Awareness Service?

Our Alcohol Awareness Service is currently only available in our Tayside pharmacies.

It is a free NHS service designed to raise awareness of your alcohol consumption and any health risks that may be associated with this.

The service aims to help you to:
  • Understand the level of your drinking in terms of the units of alcohol you are typically consuming and where you are positioned in terms of health risk categories (see below)
  • Understand the daily guideline limits are for alcohol consumption and what a unit of alcohol is
  • Understand the benefits of reducing or stopping drinking alcohol, where appropriate
  • Receive guidance and information about strategies to make changes in the levels of alcohol you consume, so you can reduce the risks to your health
How the service works:

You will be asked to answer a few brief lifestyle questions on a scratch-card, designed to help you to identify whether or not you are drinking within safe guidelines. This will be done in a sensitive and non-judgmental way, with the aim of helping you understand the potential health consequences associated with your drinking and identifying ways to reduce the risks of alcohol.

If we feel that you should consider a reduction in your levels of alcohol consumption we will provide you with an an information leaflet on alcohol units and safe guidelines, incorporating a drinks diary that can be used to track how much alcohol you are drinking on a daily basis over a week.

If we feel you need help with cutting down, we may suggest contacting Tayside Council on Alcohol (TCA). They provide support, advice and counselling for individuals experiencing harmful drinking (see below).

Drinking categories
Low risk drinking

There is no absolutely safe level of alcohol consumption, however sticking to the recommended daily and weekly drinking limits will minimise the risk to your health.

It is recommended that women do not exceed 2-3 alcohol units per day or 14 units per week and that men do not exceed 3-4 units per day or 21 units per week. Additionally, everyone should have at least 2 alcohol-free days per week. Regularly exceeding these limits will increase the chance of harm as a result of drinking alcohol.

If you are pregnant, you should avoid drinking alcohol, but if you do choose to drink, you should to minimise the risk of the baby by not drink more than 1 to 2 units of alcohol, once or twice a week and should not get drunk.

If your alcohol consumption is within these recommended limits, well done – you are minimising the risk to your health from alcohol

Hazardous (at risk) drinking
It is recommended that women do not exceed 2-3 alcohol units per day or 14 units per week and that men do not exceed 3-4 units per day or 21 units per week. Additionally, everyone should have at least 2 alcohol-free days per week. ‘Binge’ drinking (drinking a large amount of alcohol at one time) is particularly harmful because of the effect of large amounts of alcohol on the liver and other body systems.

If you regularly exceeding these limits you are increasing this risk to your health. You can reduce this risk by cutting down, ideally to within the recommended limits –although any reductions you make will benefit your health.

You can find information and advice on cutting down here. You might also like to talk to your GP, practice nurse, midwife or other healthcare professional about cutting down.

Harmful drinking

It is recommended that women do not exceed 2-3 alcohol units per day or 14 units per week and that men do not exceed 3-4 units per day or 21 units per week.  Additionally, everyone should have at least 2 alcohol-free days per week.

If you regularly exceed 50 units per week (men) or 35 units per week (women) you are at high risk of serious physical, psychological or social problems as a result of your drinking. You can reduce this risk by cutting down on your alcohol consumption, ideally to within the recommended limits.

If you feel you need help with cutting down, Tayside Council on Alcohol (TCA) could help. They provide support, advice and counselling for individuals experiencing harmful drinking.

Dependent drinking

If you find it difficult to enjoy yourself or relax without having a drink, it’s possible you’ve become dependent on alcohol. Being dependent on alcohol means you feel you’re not able to function without it and that drinking becomes one of the most important factors in your life. Being alcohol dependant can affect your life in many ways and may lead to serious consequences for your health. The good news is that specialist help is available to help you overcome the problems you face.

If you are alcohol dependent, it is very important that you do not abruptly stop drinking alcohol or make rapid reductions without specialist healthcare advice. You should discuss your situation with a doctor, nurse or other healthcare worker who will assess your situation and advise you on the best course, which could include planning a gradual reduction or arranging an alcohol detox programme.