Drinking alcohol is legal and a big part of many of our cultures. But alcohol is actually a drug and can be addictive. Alcohol affects your health at every level of use. Some of the levels of alcohol use include low-risk drinking or at-risk or heavy drinking. You may not have a problem. You may even drink the same amount or less than your friends or family. But, knowing how your drinking affects your health can help you now and in the long run. You can take an anonymous alcohol screening to find your risk-level. You will get feedback about your alcohol use.
A good goal is to reduce your drinking to place in the low-risk level. Find tips for cutting down your drinking here. Learn more about alcohol use disorder. The screening with feedback will also give you tips on how to protect your health. If you are drinking heavily, quitting suddenly can be very dangerous. Seeing your doctor who can help you find detox help is a wise choice.
When is it never okay to drink alcohol? Many people think of alcohol as pretty harmless but there are some situations that make drinking alcohol dangerous. You should not drink alcohol if any of these are true for you.
- You are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. It is never safe to drink alcohol when you are pregnant. In the past, many people thought having an alcoholic drink in the last trimester of pregnancy was safe but not anymore! Studies have shown that drinking in the last trimester can be just as harmful as drinking during any other time in a pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association has more information on "Pregnancy and Alcohol".
- You are planning to drive or operate machinery. Drive only when you are sober. Have a designated driver when you drink. It keeps you safe and keeps other families on the road safer. These steps will make sure that you will not be arrested for a driving under the influence (DUI) offense.
- You have a medical condition that is worsened by alcohol. Some conditions made worse by alcohol are diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, and depression or anxiety. Learn more here .
- You take medications that react with alcohol. Many drugs can be dangerous to your health if you drink alcohol while taking them. Even some herbal products can be harmful when taken with alcohol. Learn more here.
- You are a minor. Alcohol is illegal to use when you are under 21. The brain is not fully developed yet. You can cause long-term problems when drinking at a young age. Learn more about the dangers of teen drinking.
- You cannot keep your drinking at a moderate level. Someone who has an alcohol use disorder or is in recovery may be unable to keep their drinking at a safe level.