Talk: How much is too much?


Dr Audrey Dillon

Research Registrar
Mater Hospital Dublin

When does it go from low risk fun to harmful? Low risk is 14 units for women and 21 units for men in one week.

Binge is defined as 7unit/day for women and 10 for men

There is a misconception that moderate alcohol can be good for you. This is not true. Alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the gut and breast, cirrhosis and then cancer, Osteoporosis.

The correct measurement of units in various drinks were discussed in order to better understand alcohol consumption



  • 75% of alcohol is consumed as part of a binge session

  • 65% 18-24 year old drinkers consume more than 6 standard drinks(binge on a typical occasion

  • 61% of us underestimate our alcohol intake

  • €50.6million is spent on alcohol in a week in Ireland


European Survey of Last months drinking

  • 15-16 YEARS OLD

  • Half had drunk alcohol

  • 40% had 5+ drinks on one occasion

  • 23% had 1+ episode of drunkenness

  • 9% girls and 13% boys were drunk for the first time under 13 years age

  • 84% said alcohol was easy to get


  • 11% had given their teenager a drink at home

  • 23% thought it was beneficial to introduce children to alcohol in the home

  • 63% said it wasn’t


The effects of alcohol in liver disease

  • Emphasis was placed on a personalized discussion dependent on individuals

  • Stage of liver disease

  • Advanced disease or cirrhosis-None

  • After liver transplant-None but if stable for a number of years within the low risk limits

  • If NAFLD-May be beneficial<1 drink per day

  • Medication

  • Personal condition (cirrhosis/portal hypertension/NAFLD/liver transplant)



  • No drinking under 16

  • Aim to delay the onset of drinking

  • ‘enforcing’ abstinence in >16 may do more harm that good

  • Giving alcohol at home to teenagers gives mixed messages

  • Don’t drink in front of children

  • Monitor your child

  • Increased risk of unprotected sex

  • No binging



  • Minimum 2 consecutive days with out alcohol for liver repair & regeneration

  • Eat prior to drinking And ‘pace’ yourself

  • Don’t drink alone for psychological reasons

  • Don’t drink outside mealtimes

  • Buy a measure for home if you drink spirits

  • Use smaller wine glasses (know exactly how many units you’re drinking)

  • Maintain a healthy diet/exercise regime

  • Drink 2-4 cups of coffee daily.

  • Allow open conversation concerning alcohol with children at an early age.