Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation

The Basics
There are no health benefits to drinking. If you don’t drink at all, there’s no reason to start. If you choose to drink, it’s important to have only a moderate (limited) amount.

Take Action!
Make a list of reasons to reduce your drinking.

Start Today: Small Steps

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The Basics

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If you don’t drink alcohol, there’s no reason to start. If you choose to drink, it’s important to have only a moderate (limited) amount. And some people should not drink at all, like women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant and people with certain health conditions.

What is a moderate amount of alcohol?

A moderate amount of alcohol means:

What is 1 drink equal to?

Different types of beer, wine, and liquor have different amounts of alcohol. In general, 1 drink is equal to a:

Learn more about the amount of alcohol in different drinks.

Different drinks have different amounts of calories, too. These calories add up, and can make you gain weight. For example, a 12 ounce bottle of beer has about 150 calories. Find out how many calories are in a drink.

How can I tell if I’m at risk for a drinking problem?

Drinking more than a moderate amount of alcohol can put you at risk for personal and health problems. Use this tool to see if your drinking habits put you at risk.

What are the risks of drinking too much?

Drinking too much increases your risk for many health problems, including:

Learn more about how alcohol can affect the body.

Drinking too much can also put you at risk for:

What is alcohol use disorder?

If drinking causes serious problems in your life, you may have alcohol use disorder. Alcoholism is a type of alcohol use disorder.

Drinking may be a problem for you if any of these things are true:

Use this tool to see if you have signs of alcohol use disorder. If you have a drinking problem, it’s important to see a doctor right away.

Who should not drink at all?

Don’t drink at all if you:

It’s also very important not to drink if you plan to drive a car or use a machine (like a lawn mower, chainsaw, or construction equipment).


Take Action!

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Here are some strategies to help you cut back or stop drinking.

Keep track of your drinking.

Keeping track of each drink may help you drink less overall.  This drinking tracker card can help.

Set goals.

Decide how many days a week you will drink and how much you will drink on those days. For men, don’t drink more than 2 drinks a day. For women, don’t drink more than 1 drink a day.

It’s also a good idea to have some days when you don’t drink at all.

Learn new skills to help you change your drinking habits.

Planning ahead can help you manage situations when you might be tempted to drink too much. Think ahead about how to say “no” if someone offers you a drink.

Find healthy ways to manage stress.

If you have a bad day or are feeling angry, don’t reach for a drink. Try taking a walk, calling a friend, or seeing a movie.  Get tips to help you manage stress.

Avoid places where people drink a lot.

Stay away from bars and other places that may make you want to drink.

Limit the amount of alcohol you keep at home.

This way you won’t be tempted to go over the drinking limit you set for yourself when you are at home.

Make a list of reasons not to drink.

Make a list of reasons to drink less or quit. Keep this list in your wallet, on your fridge, or in an app on your phone. Look at it when you have an urge to drink.

If you want to lose weight or save money, use these calculators to:

If you think you might have a drinking problem, ask for help.

Ask your friends and loved ones to support you. Talk to a doctor or nurse if you are having a hard time cutting down on your drinking.

If one type of treatment doesn’t work for you, you can try another. Don’t give up!

What about cost?

The Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010, requires most health care plans to cover screening and counseling for alcohol misuse. Depending on your insurance, you may be able to get these services at no cost to you.

Check with your insurance provider to find out what’s included in your plan. For information about other services covered by the Affordable Care Act, visit HealthCare.gov.

Are you worried about a loved one’s drinking?

Use these tips to talk with someone about cutting back or quitting drinking.


Start Today: Small Steps

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