Assess Your Drinking Habits

Many adults have a drink with a meal or when they're enjoying social activities. Drinking in moderation doesn't usually cause problems for most people.

However, alcohol affects everyone differently. About 30 percent of adults in this country drink at levels that pose significant health risks and they don't even know it.

Drinking in Moderation

If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. This is considered low-risk drinking.

Drinking limits for men and women:

Healthy men, 65 and younger No more than:
2 drinks on average; 4 drinks on any day
14 drinks
Healthy men over 65 No more than:
1 drink on average; 3 drinks on any day
7 drinks
All healthy women No more than:
1 drink on average; 3 drinks on any day
7 drinks


What's a Drink?

The recommended limits are based on the following amounts of alcohol in a drink.

alcohol drink servings

By staying within these limits, drinking probably won't affect your health or medical conditions, or cause problems at work, home, or school.

Also, limiting your drinking will help keep you and others safe from injuries or accidents. Low-risk drinking also means knowing when you shouldn't drink alcohol. This means never drinking alcohol if you're planning to drive an automobile or boat, or operate machinery.

Women who are pregnant or currently planning to become pregnant should not drink any alcohol.

Clinical review by Paula Lozano, MD
Group Health
Reviewed 03/01/2014
Alcohol and Health

This video cuts through myths we tell ourselves about drinking and looks at the science.

friends drinking beer

Quick facts (PDF)
Rethinking Drinking

Learn more about assessing your drinking habits and lowering health risks.

Rethinking Drinking is research-based information from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The site has resources for teens, parents, pregnant women, and older adults.

What's your drinking pattern? Risks?
Rethinking Drinking

How much alcohol is in popular cocktails?
Alcohol Calculators