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Do you have a drinking problem?

Alcohol use disorder - drinking problem; Alcohol abuse - drinking problem; Alcoholism - drinking problem; Alcohol dependence - drinking problem; Alcohol addiction - drinking problem

Many people with alcohol problems cannot tell when their drinking is out of control. It is important to be aware of how much you are drinking. You should also know how your alcohol use may affect your life and those around you.

One drink equals one 12-ounce (oz), or 355 milliliters (mL), can or bottle of beer, one 5-ounce (148 mL) glass of wine, 1 wine cooler, 1 cocktail, or 1 shot of hard liquor. Think about:

Responsible Drinking

Here are some guidelines for drinking alcohol responsibly, as long as you do not have a drinking problem.

Healthy men up to age 65 should limit themselves to:

Healthy women up to age 65 should limit themselves to:

Healthy women of all ages and healthy men over age 65 should limit themselves to:

When you Start to Drink too Much

Health care providers consider your drinking medically unsafe when you drink:

Knowing When you Have a Drinking Problem

You may have a drinking problem if you have at least 2 of the following characteristics:

When to Call a Health Care Provider

If you or others are concerned, make an appointment with your provider to talk about your drinking. Your provider can help guide you to the best treatment.

Other resources include:

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Fact sheets: alcohol use and your health. www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm. Updated December 30, 2019. Accessed January 23, 2020.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website. Alcohol & your health. www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health. Accessed January 23, 2020.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website. Alcohol use disorder. www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders. Accessed January 23, 2020.

O'Connor PG. Alcohol use disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 30.

Sherin K, Seikel S, Hale S. Alcohol use disorders. In: Rakel RE, Rakel DP, eds. Textbook of Family Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 48.

US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening and behavioral counseling interventions to reduce unhealthy alcohol use in adolescents and adults: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2018;320(18):1899–1909. PMID: 30422199 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30422199/.

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Review Date: 1/23/2020  

Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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