Alcohol and Your Health

Alcohol can affect a person’s health. Physical, mental, emotional and social issues can increase when someone uses alcohol at an early age, in large amounts and often, with other medication or substances (drugs) or when pregnant, planning to be pregnant or breastfeeding.

How Does Alcohol Affect my Health?

The short-term risks of drinking alcohol include slowed reaction time, impaired judgment and decision making. Drinking a lot of alcohol in a short time makes it difficult for a person’s body to get rid of the alcohol. Too much alcohol could lead to an alcohol overdose (also known as alcohol poisoning). Learn more about binge drinking.  

Mixing Alcohol with Other Substances (Drugs)

Mixing alcohol with medications, caffeine or other substances can have negative effects. Using more than one substance at a time, whether it is alcohol, cannabis or other substances , can increase impairment. This leads to unpredictable changes to how a person thinks, feels, and acts. Mixing drinks that have alcohol with a caffeinated beverage is not recommended because it can be harder for people to recognize the signs of impairment like feeling tired. This can cause people to drink more alcohol and increases risk for dehydration, alcohol poisoning, and alcohol related injury or death. 

Alcohol and Cancer

Alcohol is linked to many types of cancer, for example cancer of the breast, mouth, pharynx, larynx and esophagus, colon and rectum, as well as liver and pancreas. The more a person drinks, the higher their risk of cancer. The type of alcohol does not matter. If a person chooses to drink alcohol, the Canadian Cancer Society recommends that to reduce the risk of developing cancer, women should drink less than one drink a day and men should drink less than 2 drinks a day.

Find out My CancerIQ and steps you can take to help reduce your cancer risk.

How Does my Drinking Compare to Others? 

Do you want to know how your drinking compares to others or are you concerned about your drinking? Try this free, anonymous and bilingual survey. When you have finished the survey you can print or email your results directly to yourself, your physician or other health care professional.

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