There are short and long term health risks to drinking alcohol.
Binge drinking, which is 4 or more standard drinks on one occasion for women and 5 or more standard drinks on one occasion for men, is most harmful to your health.
Short Term Health Risks
Alcohol use, especially binge drinking, has immediate effects that increase the risk of:
- Risky Sexual Behaviours
- Unprotected sex, and sex with multiple partners.
- Alcohol Poisoning
- A medical emergency resulting from high blood alcohol levels.
Long Term Health Risks
Over time, alcohol can lead to many physical, emotional, mental, and social health problems.
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Some Cancers
- Head and neck, liver, colon, and breast cancers.
- Damage to your liver, stomach, and brain.
- Mental health problems
- Alcohol dependence, depression, anxiety, and suicide.
- Social problems
- Financial losses and family or friend problems.
If you choose to drink alcohol, find out more on how you can reduce the risks to your health with Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines
Other Useful Links:
Rethink your drinking. Short and long term alcohol risks.
Canadian Public Health Association. (2011). Too high a cost. A public health approach to alcohol policy in Canada. Ottawa, Ontario.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (2010). Alcohol and chronic health problems. Toronto, Ontario.
Government of Canada (modified 2013). Alcohol abuse.