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Alcohol Health Risks

Quick facts

  • Abstinence from alcohol is a safe and acceptable lifelong decision. Alcohol-free lifestyles can decrease or eliminate your risk of alcohol-related negative consequences. By choosing healthy alternatives to alcohol consumption, you can learn new coping skills, alternatives to decreasing stress, and stronger social skills.
  • Research shows that adverse consequences may occur even at relatively low levels of alcohol consumption. Driving-related skills can be impaired at relatively low levels of blood alcohol concentration. Reaction time, judgment, attention spans, eye movements, and coordination can be altered adversely at BACs (blood alcohol content) which are less than intoxication levels.
    Ongoing studies are exploring the risks to a fetus, which are associated with low levels of alcohol consumption.
  • Many psychological and cardiovascular benefits have been associated with moderate drinking. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has defined moderate drinking as "no more than one standard drink per day for women and no more than two standard drinks per day for men. A standard drink is equal to 12 ounces of regular beer (with 0.5 ounces of absolute alcohol), 5 ounces of table wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits."

Heavy drinking contributes to accidents, violence, trauma and medical problems that can result in death.