If you drink alcohol, it is best to limit how much you drink. This is called drinking in moderation.
Yet responsible drinking means more than limiting yourself to a certain number of drinks. It means you are not getting drunk, and you are not letting alcohol control your life or the life of others around you.
The tips in this section are for people who:
Healthy men up to age 65 should limit themselves to:
Healthy women of all ages and healthy men over age 65 should limit themselves to:
Other tips that will also help you be a responsible drinker are:
If you take any medicines, including ones you bought without a prescription, check with your doctor before you drink. Alcohol can affect the way your body uses some drugs. A drug may not work correctly, or it could even be dangerous or make you sick if it is combined with alcohol.
If alcoholism runs in your family, you may be at higher risk of becoming an alcoholic yourself. Not drinking at all might be best for you.
Many people drink now and then. You may have heard about some health benefits from moderate drinking. Some of these benefits have been proven more than others, but none of them should be used as a reason for drinking.
Some of the possible benefits of moderate drinking that have been studied are:
Call your health care provider if:
Bush K,Kivlahan DR,McDonellMB,FihnSD, Bradley KA. The AUDIT alcohol consumption questions (AUDIT-C): an effective brief screening test for problem drinking. Ambulatory Care Quality Improvement Project (ACQUIP). Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test. Arch Intern Med. 1998; 158(16):1789–1795.
In the clinic. Alcohol use. Ann Intern Med. 2009 Mar 3;150(5).
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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