Alcohol Abuse

Drinking too much alcohol can contribute to the risk of health-related injuries, violence, drowning, liver disease and some types of cancer.

If you choose to drink, have only a moderate (limited) amount. This means that women should have no more than one drink a day and men should have no more than two drinks a day.

One drink is a:

  • Bottle of beer (12 ounces)
  • Glass of wine (5 ounces)
  • Shot of liquor (1.5 ounces)

For most adults, moderate drinking doesn’t cause any serious health problems. However, drinking can become a problem if it causes trouble with:

  • Your relationships
  • School or work
  • How you think and feel

If you have a drinking problem, it’s important to see a doctor right away. You can improve your health by drinking less or quitting.

Drinking in moderation or not drinking at all can help you:

  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Lower your risk of injury, heart disease, stroke, some types of cancer and liver problems
  • Lose weight
  • Save money
  • Get along better with your family

You should not drink at all if you:

  • Are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • Are under 21 years of age
  • Take certain over-the-counter or prescription medicines (check the medicine label and discuss with your pharmacist or doctor)
  • Are recovering from alcoholism
  • Have a health condition that can be made worse by drinking such as liver disease

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

  • Set a drinking limit. For example, you may decide to have no more than three drinks per week.
  • Keep track of how much you drink by writing down every time you have a drink for one week.
  • Choose a day each week when you will not drink.
  • Don’t drink when you are upset. Instead, find healthy ways to manage stress and learn new skills to help you change your drinking habits.
  • Avoid bars or other places where people drink.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you keep at home.
  • Make a list of reasons not to drink, for example, saving money or losing weight.
  • Ask for help if you need it. Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Please note: Preventive care services and screenings are only covered when rendered by an in-network doctor or other health care professional.