How Much Is Too Much?

For healthy adults in general, drinking more than these daily or weekly limits is considered "at-risk" or "heavy" drinking:

  • Men: More than 4 drinks on any day or 14 per week

  • Women: More than 3 drinks on any day or 7 per week

About 1 in 4 people who exceed these limits already has an alcohol use disorder, and the rest are at greater risk for developing these and other problems. Again, individual risks vary. People can have problems drinking less than these amounts, particularly if they drink too quickly.

Risky Behaviors

You may only drink "socially" or on occasion but this can also beharmful, especially if you are engaging in certain risk behaviors, such as the following:

  • Taking shots: When you take a shot, a lot of alcohol is absorbed quickly into the body. You may not feel the full effects right away and continue to drink, which can become dangerous very quickly.

  • Drinking games: Playing drinking games may encourage people to drink more quickly and often distract you so that it may be hard to keep track of how many drinks you consume.

  • Pregaming: Drinking before you go out is dangerous because your total alcohol consumption during an evening can end up reaching dangerously high levels.

  • Chugging: If you or someone else binge drinks, or is drinking just to get drunk, you are putting yourself at a high risk for alcohol dependence and may be using alcohol for the wrong reasons.

If you or a friend you know exhibits these behaviors, reach out for help ASAP. 

  • Student Counseling (773) 702-9800

  • Student Health (773) 702-4156

  • Health Promotion and Wellness  (773) 702-8935

Too much + too often = too risky

Keep in mind, it makes a difference both how much you drink on any given day and how often you have a "heavy drinking day" (more than 4 drinks on any day for men and more than 3 drinks for women). The more drinks on any day and the more heavy drinking days over time, the greater the risk—not only for an alcohol use disorder, but also for other health and personal problems.

Find more information on Rethinking Drinking by the NIH
Read the NIH PDF on Rethinking Drinking on Alcohol and Your Health

Additional Resources

If you are having any difficulties or concerns, consider contacting the professionals at Student Counseling Services. For immediate help or safety concerns, call the UChicago Police at 773.702.8181. Click here to find more important phone numbers.