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At-Risk Alcohol Use
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
At-risk alcohol use means you drink more than recommended daily or weekly limits. For men 21 to 64 years, the limit is 4 drinks in a day or 14 in a week. For women and for men 65 or older, it is 3 drinks in a day or 7 in a week. A drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor. Your healthcare provider may recommend lower limits for you if you have a health condition. No amount is safe for a woman who is pregnant.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:
- You feel like hurting yourself or someone else.
- You have trouble breathing, chest pain, or a fast heartbeat.
- You have a seizure.
Call your doctor if:
- You need help to stop drinking alcohol.
- You have new symptoms since your last visit.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
What you can do to manage your alcohol use:
- Decrease the amount you drink. This can help prevent health problems such as brain, heart, and liver damage, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. If you cannot stop completely, healthcare providers can help you set goals to decrease the amount you drink. This is treatment called brief intervention therapy.
- Plan weekly alcohol use. You will be less likely to drink more than the recommended limit if you plan ahead.
- Have food when you drink alcohol. Food will prevent alcohol from getting into your system too quickly. Eat before you have your first alcohol drink.
- Time your drinks carefully. Have no more than 1 drink in an hour. Have a liquid such as water, coffee, or a soft drink between alcohol drinks.
- Do not drive if you have had alcohol. Make sure someone who has not been drinking can help you get home.
- Do not drink alcohol if you are taking medicine. Alcohol is dangerous when you combine it with certain medicines, such as acetaminophen or blood pressure medicine. Talk to your healthcare provider about all the medicines you currently take.
Follow up with your doctor as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
For support and more information:
- Alcoholics Anonymous
Web Address: http://www.aa.org
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
PO Box 2345
Rockville , MD 20847-2345
Web Address: http://www.samhsa.gov
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about At-Risk Alcohol Use (Discharge Care)
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