Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
How Much is Too Much?
Have you ever worried about how much alcohol you were drinking or if you might be putting your health at risk? Have you or someone else ever thought you should cut back on alcohol use? To better understand what is considered a normal versus unhealthy amount of alcohol, consider taking a simple self-test called the AUDIT-C. It is available online or from your VA health care providers. The AUDIT-C can help you compare your drinking with what is considered a healthy limit. It is also good to learn how much alcohol you are actually consuming by knowing how much alcohol is contained in different alcoholic beverages.
The recommended alcohol limit for men is no more than 3 drinks per day and no more than 14 per week. For women, the limits are no more than 2 drinks per day and no more than 7 per week. If you would like to reduce your alcohol use on your own, the following strategies are a great place to start:
• Keep a record of how much and how often you drink.
• Measure your drinks.
• Decide how many days you will allow yourself to have alcohol and how much you plan to have each day.
• When drinking, sip slowly, pace yourself and have some food to help absorb the alcohol.
Learn what triggers make you think about drinking and, if you are trying to cut back, avoid those triggers. Have a plan for coping with urges to drink without giving in. Some ideas include talking with a non-drinking friend or plan another activity that does not include alcohol. Be prepared to say “no” when someone offers you alcohol at a time when you planned not to indulge.
To obtain help in changing your drinking habits, please contact your Primary Care Mental Health Integration Team, available on a walk-in basis at your VA primary care team, or call 573-814-3919 or 573-814-3958.
To learn more about how much alcohol is in different beverages or to take the AUDIT-C, visit: