Date: May 22, 2019

Partly cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers early this evening. Fog patches developing late this evening. Wind southeast 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming light this evening. Low 12.

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Alcohol: Finding Balance

This page was reviewed or revised on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 1:35 PM

Who is Counting?

People drink alcohol to relax, to celebrate, to have fun, to gain confidence and to forget problems, and that makes alcohol one of the most common drugs in Canada.

Alcohol is a drug and a depressant. It slows down the activity of the brain and the central nervous system. In most cases, the body can safely handle about one (1) standard drink per hour. The affects are decided by:

  • gender (woman or man)
  • your size
  • your fitness
  • how fast you drink
  • what you have eaten
  • how you feel (tired, stress)

Alcohol is alcohol. Standard drinks (see illustration) have the same alcohol content. No matter the drink, it's all the same to your body. Watch a short video that explains Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines.

When we drink sensibly, alcohol is not harmful to most people, but when drinking gets out of control, it can cause many problems - social, personal and health. And that is just the beginning.

If you are not 100% in control of speech, movement and judgment, there is the risk for other negative outcomes.

Consumption by the Numbers

  0   Zero drinks: lowest risk of alcohol related problem.
2 Recommended that WOMEN drink no more than 2 drinks per day.
3 Recommended that MEN drink no more than 3 drinks per day.
10 Recommended that WOMEN drink no more than 10 drinks per week.
15 Recommended that MEN drink no more than 15 drinks per week.

Those with certain health conditions should not drink alcohol; even small amounts of alcohol could cause problems. If you have a family history of alcoholism, take care when it comes to alcohol; you are at risk.

A hangover may be the least of your worries. According to the World Health Organization, alcohol is the 3rd most harmful risk factor for chronic disease (WHO, 2003).

Pros/Cons

Moderate alcohol consumption may offer some health benefits but those mainly apply to people over the age of 45 years. A little goes a long way and, in most cases, one (1) drink of beer, wine or liquor every other day is enough. More than two drinks may do more harm than good and undo any benefits.

Excess amounts of alcohol can lead to serious health problems.

Weigh the pros and cons and make up your own mind. Talk with your health-care professional if you have questions. Don't feel pressured to drink.