What does my score mean?

A score of 7 or less for men (6 for women) indicates that you are at a lower risk of problems related to alcohol use. However, you should be aware that even light drinking has been shown to be associated with an increased risk of cancer. Binge drinking, defined as an intake of 60 g of pure alcohol or more on one occasion, is particularly harmful to health. In addition, you should not drink any alcohol when pregnant or considering pregnancy; when operating a vehicle or machinery; if a contraindicated medical condition is present; or after using certain medications, such as sedatives, analgesics, and selected antihypertensives.

A score of 8 or more for men (7 for women) indicates that you are consuming alcohol in a hazardous and/or harmful manner. Please talk to your doctor or an alcohol counsellor about how you can reduce hazardous and/or harmful drinking. Regular excessive alcohol use is a cause of many diseases and injuries and may lead to social, legal, domestic, job and financial problems (Table 1).

If you scored a total of 20 or above, or if you scored above 0 on questions 4–6, you may be alcohol dependent or at risk for alcohol dependence. Please consult with your doctor or another healthcare professional as soon as possible, and please seek medical advice before you reduce your drinking, since stopping or significantly reducing your alcohol consumption may lead to alcohol withdrawal, a serious medical condition.

Table 1. The risks associated with the use of alcohol at unsafe levels include:
hangovers, aggressive and violent behavior, accidents and injury, nausea and vomiting;
reduced sexual performance and premature ageing;
digestive problems, ulcers, inflammation of the pancreas and high blood pressure;
anxiety and depression, relationship difficulties and financial and work problems;
difficulty remembering things and solving problems;
birth defects and brain damage in babies of pregnant women;
permanent brain damage leading to memory loss, cognitive deficits and disorientation;
stroke, muscle and nerve damage;
liver and pancreas diseases;
cancers, including nasopharyngeal, laryngeal, liver, colon/rectal, and female breast cancer; and