Drinking too much alcohol can cause physical and emotional damage to you and your friends and family. One out of every six New Yorkers drinks more than the recommended guidelines described below, and alcohol leads to nearly 1,800 deaths in the city each year.
If you are an excessive drinker, there are steps you can take to cut back and lower your health risks.
While everyone is different, these recommended guidelines are designed for you to stop drinking before you increase your risk of illness, injury or death.
Men Ages 64 and Younger
- No more than four drinks in a short period of time, such as a 2-hour period
- No more than 14 drinks per week
Women of All Ages and Men 65 and Older
- No more than three drinks in a short period of time, such as a 2-hour period
- No more than seven drinks per week
Note: For pregnant women, there is no known safe level of alcohol consumption. You should also not drink at all if you are taking medications that interact with alcohol or are younger than 21.
Defining One Drink
- 12 ounces of beer
- 5 ounces of wine, or 3.5 ounces of fortified wine
- 1.5 ounces of distilled liquor or brandy (many mixed drinks contain more than this amount)
Tips to Drink Less
If you are an excessive drinker and want to cut back, you can get help from the City, your primary care doctor or another health professional.
Here are a few tips to make it easier to drink less:
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with water.
- Eat food while you are drinking.
- Set a limit with your friends before you start drinking and keep to it.
- Try new social activities that don't involve drinking, such as meeting a friend at a book store or in a park.
- Avoid people and settings that trigger an urge to drink.
If you drink excessively, you are at an increased risk for:
- Accidents and injuries
- Depression and other mental health problems
- Losing your temper, possibly leading to physical aggression
- Cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver
- Enlarged heart or weakening of the heart muscle
- Cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, breast, and colon
- Weakened immune system
- Pneumonia and other infections
- Sleep problems
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