Facts about Alcohol

What is a Standard Drink or Unit of Alcohol?

In Ireland a standard drink, also called a unit of alcohol, has about 10 grams of pure alcohol in it. In the UK, a standard drink has about 8 grams of pure alcohol.

Here are some examples of a standard drink:

A pub measure of spirits (35.5ml)

A small glass of wine (12.5% volume)

A half pint of normal beer

An alcopop (275ml bottle)

A bottle of wine at 12.5% alcohol contains about seven standard drinks.

Context – legal and safety issues

The recommended weekly alcohol limits for both men and women have been cut by Irish experts.  It is now recommended that men should not drink more than 17 alcohol units over a week.  Previously, the limit had been set at 21 units.  Women should not  consume more than 11 units of alcohol over a week.

How much drink is too much when it comes to driving? As we all metabolise alcohol at slightly different rates, the safest answer is to not drink any alcohol before driving. Just stick to the soft drinks.

Also, when asking how much is too much drink, there are also other factors we should consider

Under 18
Short term effects of alcohol
Physical effects – vomiting, diarrhoea and in extreme cases death
Accidents – poor coordination and distorted thinking
Insomnia – difficultly getting to sleep and disturbed sleep
Hormone change – moobs and moods
Mental effects – loss of inhibitions, confusion and dodgy decisions
Long term effects of alcohol
Physical effects – increased risk of developing over 60 diseases
Physical effects – liver cirrhosis
Physical effects – cancer
Mental effects – emotional health and well being
Social effects – arguments, breakdowns and depression
Binge drinking

Anytime you drink double the recommended daily alcohol limit you are in fact ‘binge drinking. Everyone has different levels of alcohol tolerance (see How much is too much? for more information) but it’s worth bearing in mind the following:

Any occasion a woman drinks six or more units constitutes binge drinking. That works out at two large glasses of 12% wine, or two pints of 5% beer or cider.
Any occasion a man drinks eight or more units constitutes binge drinking. That works out at two and half pints of 5% beer or cider, or four doubles of 40% spirits.

Spreading drinks throughout the day – your health is still affected
Worried that you may binge drink?