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Logo: Rethinking Drinking - Alcohol and your health

What's "at-risk" or "heavy" drinking?

For healthy adults in general, drinking more than these single-day or weekly limits is considered "at-risk" or "heavy" drinking:

•   Men:  More than 4 drinks on any day or 14 per week
•   Women:  More than 3 drinks on any day or 7 per week

About 1 in 4 people who exceed these limits already has alcoholism or alcohol abuse, and the rest are at greater risk for developing these and other problems. Again, individual risks vary. People can have problems drinking less than these amounts, particularly if they drink too quickly.

Too much + too often = too risky

It makes a difference both how much you drink on any day and how often you have a "heavy drinking day," that is, more than 4 drinks on any day for men or more than 3 drinks for women.

Among people with
this drinking pattern
(click to change)...
...this proportion
has alcoholism
or alcohol abuse

In short, the more drinks on any day and the more heavy drinking days over time, the greater the risk—not only for alcoholism and alcohol abuse, but also for other health and personal problems.