How Many Units of Alcohol a Week is Dangerous?
How many units of alcohol a week is dangerous?
It depends who for. Total abstinence is recommended in patients with some medical conditions and for alcoholics.
For the rest of the adult population anything above 21 units a week for men, and 14 units a week for women, is potentially damaging. Both men and women are recommended to have 2 or 3 alcohol-free days each week.
However, giving standard advice to the entire population is misconceived and can be potentially damaging.
People may use these numbers as reassurance when underlying medical conditions would indicate that total abstinence would be preferable. And alcoholics lose count when the first drink has the effect of making them crave for more. People who stick to rigid rules on moderation may be impossible to live with because they drive themselves up the wall in frustration.
Governments give recommendations on quantities because they have to do so in a society in which they, rather than individuals, are seen as the prime source of responsibility for healthcare and welfare issues.
A much better principle for governments and individuals is not to count units but for people not to drink at all if alcohol causes any problems in life. There are other pleasures.