Alcohol use; Alcohol abuse; Alcoholism
Many people with alcohol problems cannot tell when their drinking is out of control. An important first step is to be aware of how much you are drinking and how your alcohol use may be harming your life and those around you.
One drink equals one 12-ounce can or bottle of beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, 1 wine cooler, 1 cocktail, or 1 shot of hard liquor. Think about:
Here are some guidelines for drinking alcohol responsibly, as long as you do not have a drinking problem.
Healthy men up to age 65 should limit themselves to:
Healthy women up to age 65 should limit themselves to:
Healthy women of all ages and healthy men over age 65 should limit themselves to:
Doctors consider your drinking medically unsafe when you drink:
You can use the AUDIT-C questionnaire to help you decide if your drinking is risky. Your doctor can advise and help you cut down or even quit.
You may have a drinking problem if you have at least 2 of the following characteristics:
If you or others are concerned, make an appointment with your doctor to talk about your drinking. Your doctor can help guide you to the best treatment.
Other resources include:
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. 2013.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol use disorder: a comparison between DSM-IV and DSM-5. November 2013. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/dsmfactsheet/dsmfact.pdf. Accessed on May 11, 2014.
O'Connor PG. Alcohol abuse and dependence. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 32.
Sherin K, Seikel S. Alcohol use disorders. In: Rakel RE, Rakel DP, eds. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 49.
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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