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The Traffic Light System for Drinking

The alcohol traffic light system can be used as a rule-of-thumb to assess and monitor your drinking patterns:

Green: Safe drinking

  • The guidelines issued by the government suggest that 21 units for a man and 14 units per week for a woman are safe.  These should be spaced over a week and not consumed in one or two sessions. 
  • The problems arise when we define a unit, it is suggested that a unit is half a pint of beer, a glass of wine or a pub measure of spirits.
  • A half pint of beer can contain 3.5 units of alcohol in special beers.  Physically it is extremely unlikely that you will have any damage to your system at this level of consumption

Amber: Unsafe drinking

  • You are taking in more than the recommended amount on a regular basis and may be starting to show the early physical or emotional consequences of this. 
  • You would strongly reject any suggestion that you have a problem, after all ‘you deserve a drink’ and ‘all my friends do this as well’. 
  • Someone may have commented on your drinking especially under some social circumstances such as large family group or holiday situations. 
  • You are more likely to show some blood chemical changes due to the high alcohol intake.  The enzyme in the liver, which deals with alcohol will be elevated as the liver is under some strain.

Red: Dangerous drinking

  • You are at high risk of physical and emotional damage.  You drink even when you know it is not safe and at levels way above the safe limits. 
  • Your friends and family have warned you and you may have already experienced difficulties at work, home or even with the police.  Your blood tests would show signs of dangerous drinking. 
  • By this stage you may not simply be able to deal with the problem yourself but may need help and support.  It is vital that you have the courage to admit and confront your drinking at this stage.  Being too proud or ashamed to admit you need help could cost you your life.

Treatment for Alcohol Problems

Linwood Manor is a private, residential alcoholim treatment centre located in Lincolnshire, UK, offering help and assistance to people with alcoholism and alcohol abuse problems. We offer residential alcoholism treatment and alcohol detox programmes.


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Call now on 0800 066 4173 for advice in complete confidentiality or use our online enquiry form. Alternatively if you are calling from a mobile phone or from overseas, call 01226 698 054.

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