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Those Who Know Drink Responsibly.

US National Library of Medicine

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000527.htmR

esponsible drinking

If you drink alcohol, health care providers advise limiting how much you drink. This is called drinking in moderation, or responsible drinking.

Definition of Responsible Drinking

Responsible drinking means more than just limiting yourself to a certain number of drinks. It also means not getting drunk and not letting alcohol control your life or your relationships.

 

Tips of Drinking Responsibly

 

These tips are for people who:

  • DO NOT have a drinking problem, now or in the past

  • Are old enough to drink legally

  • Are not pregnant

Healthy men, up to age 65, should limit themselves to:

  • No more than 4 drinks a day

  • No more than 14 drinks a week

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

  • No more than 3 drinks a day

  • No more than 7 drinks a week

Other habits that will help you be a responsible drinker include:

  • Never drinking alcohol and driving.

  • Having a designated driver if you are going to drink. This means riding with someone in your group who has not been drinking, or taking a taxi or bus.

  • Not drinking on an empty stomach. Have a snack or meal before you drink and while you are drinking.

If you take any medicines, including ones you bought without a prescription, check with your doctor before you drink. Alcohol can affect the way your body uses some drugs. A drug may not work correctly, or it could be dangerous or make you sick if combined with alcohol.

If alcohol use runs in your family, you may be at a higher risk of having an alcohol problem yourself. Not drinking at all might be best for you.

References

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2013.

Moyer VA; US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening and behavioral counseling interventions in primary care to reduce alcohol misuse: US Preventative Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2013;159(3):210-218. PMID: 23698791 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23698791.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website. Alcohol & your health. www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health. Accessed on April 16, 2018.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website. Alcohol use disorder. www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders. Accessed April 16, 2018.

O'Connor PG. Alcohol use disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 33.

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.

 

Review Date 1/14/2018

Updated 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.