Skip to main content

How can I avoid health problems?


Drinking above the low risk guidelines or binge drinking puts you at high risk for health-related problems. 

It’s always best to get advice from a doctor sooner rather than later if you’re worried that drinking may be affecting your health.

How much alcohol puts me at risk?

Risk varies from person to person and depends on the particular health problem – breast cancer risk is increased from only one drink a day, whereas liver cirrhosis affects mainly people who drink heavily over a long period of time.  In most cases, though, the more you drink, the more your risk of harming your health increases. 

Regularly drinking more than 17 standard drinks (men) and 11 standard drinks (women) in a week risks damaging your health. 

No amount of alcohol is completely safe but, the less you drink, the better it is for your health


Spotting the signs of alcohol-related health problems

With most health problems, the sooner you get them checked out and treated the better. This is true for alcohol-related problems too.  If you are worried that alcohol may be affecting your physical or mental health, visit your GP. 

Read more:

Are you worried that alcohol is affecting your health?

Symptoms that alcohol may be affecting your health

Be sure how much you’re drinking

Irish people tend to underestimate how much they are drinking. It’s common for heavy drinkers to describe themselves as moderate and moderate drinkers to describe themselves as light drinkers.

The good news about alcohol and your health

The good news is that you can protect your health by drinking within the low-risk limits and avoiding binge drinking:    

  • You can cut your risk of alcohol related health problems
  • You may prevent problems happening and reverse damage that has already happened


 If you find it hard to stop drinking and need support, see our section Where to get help

service finder

Where to get help

Find your nearest support group, by selecting your county below