How do I know I’m drinking too much OR more than I should?
Is there a safe level of drinking?
Some alcoholic beverages, like wine in moderate amounts, are known to have positive effects on health and it has been shown that people who drink at the optimal level have better health than those who do not drink at all – or those who drink too much.
How does one know then how much is too much? On an average, no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women and older people is considered safe.
Millions of people drink but not all become alcoholics. Research has shown that people who are able to restrict themselves to the safe level of drinking rarely ever develop a drinking problem. More specifically, to drink safe and keep oneself at a lower risk of developing a drinking problem, men should restrict themselves to 14 drinks a week, with no more four drinks on any particular day and women should not have more than 7 drinks a week and three on any particular day.
Whilst watching your drinking habits it is important to know what counts as a drink. In the United States, a ‘standard’ drink is any drink that contains about 0.6 fluid ounces – or 14 grams – of ‘pure’ alcohol. The quantity of an alcoholic drink considered to be safe would thus vary, depending on the alcohol content in each drink. For instance, Beer has 5% alcohol content. Therfore, a regular beer (12 fl oz) would count as one drink. Table wine on the other hand has 12% alcohol content and a regular wine bottle which is 750 ml would contain 5 drinks. Brandy and Hard Liquor contain 40% alcohol content. Thus, a 1.5-oz glass (shot) or 50-ml would be considered one drink.
Whilst a safe level of drinking has been determined for most adults, it is important to note that safety varies with circumstances and in certain conditions or circumstances one should not drink at all. For instance if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, if you’re driving or plan to drive, if you’re on medication, if you have a medical condition which could be adversely affected by drinking or if you’re a recovering from alcoholism. Additionally, those considered under age to drink as per the law should also not be drinking.