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National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

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Limit Alcohol

If you choose to drink alcohol, drink in moderation (women no more than 1 drink a day; men no more than 2 drinks a day). Avoid "binge drinking." If you are concerned about your drinking, talk to your VA health care team about getting help.

 

What's Important to Know?

If you choose to drink alcohol, drink in moderation. Women should drink no more than 1 drink per day (and not more than 7 drinks per week), and men should drink no more than 2 drinks per day (and not more than 14 drinks per week). One drink is equivalent to:

  • 12 oz. regular beer, usually about 5% alcohol or
  • 8-9 oz. malt liquor, or
  • 5 oz. table wine (12%), or
  • 1.5 oz. 80-proof hard liquor

Drinking too much alcohol or “binge drinking” can lead to a higher risk of health problems, such as liver damage or other injuries. Binge drinking can be defined as:

  • More than 3 drinks in 2 hours for women and adults over age 64
  • More than 4 drinks in 2 hours for men

For many adults, drinking small amounts of alcohol does not cause serious health problems. Women who drink no more than 1 drink a day (and not more than 7 drinks per week) and men who drink no more than 2 drinks a day (and not more than 14 drinks per week) are at low-risk for developing problems with alcohol use. However, people such as children, pregnant women, and those with certain medical conditions should not drink any alcohol.

Man choosing to stop drinking

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Want to Know More?

Your VA health care team can help if you have questions about limiting alcohol. If you are concerned about your drinking, talk with them. They can help you reduce risky drinking. Alcohol dependence can be treated. Effective treatments include individual counseling, group treatments, medications to reduce craving or prevent relapse, and inpatient or residential treatment.

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