Alcohol and Your Health

If you choose to drink, know the risks. 

Alcohol is a drug that can cause mental and physical impairment even after one drink. Even in small quantities, drinking can be harmful to your health. Any amount you cut back is beneficial. 

For more information you can visit, Canada's Guidance on Alcohol and Health

Drinking and health risks

Alcohol is a leading risk factor for disease, disability and premature death in Canada. Canadians can use this scale to see their risk of harm and/or premature death from alcohol based on their own drinking habits.  

We also know that: 

  • Drinking more than two standard drinks per drinking occasion is associated with an increased risk of harms to self and others, including injuries and violence.
  • When pregnant or trying to get pregnant, there is no known safe amount of alcohol.  
  • When breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest. 

Check your drinking (self quiz)

Ever wonder how your drinking measures up? Take the Check your Drinking self quiz. If you or someone you care about is in need of support related to alcohol, find out where to get help for information and resources. 

Short-term effects from drinking

Drinking can cause you to have slowed reaction time, impaired judgment, and poor coordination. You may feel flushed, dizzy, or forgetful. For some, the effects of alcohol and hangovers can induce anxiety and increase stress.

Immediate health risks related to alcohol use


  • Falls 
  • Motor vehicle collisions 


  • Fights 
  • Family violence 
  • Child abuse 
  • Sexual assault 
  • Self-harm 

Alcohol Poisoning 

  • Over consumption 

Long-term effects from drinking

Drinking alcohol has lasting effects that can negatively impact all areas of your wellbeing. Drinking alcohol can also affect those around you. Regular, excessive drinking can cause social, professional or financial harm.

More long-term impacts on physical and mental wellbeing

Heart disease 

  • High blood pressure 
  • Stroke 
  • Heart failure 
  • Atrial fibrillation 

Liver disease 

  • Fatty liver 
  • Hepatitis 
  • Fibrosis (scar tissue) 
  • Cirrhosis 


  • Breast  
  • Colon  
  • Liver 
  • Gastrointestinal (rectum, mouth and throat, esophagus and larynx) 

Mental Health 

  • Alcohol dependence 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Suicide 

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