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 4 drinks 14 drinks
Healthy men over 65 3 drinks 7 drinks
All healthy women 3 drinks 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 Ryan Caldeiro, MD
Group Health
Reviewed 12/15/2011
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