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Tips to avoid alcohol tolerance

If you regularly drink a lot, you may start to need more alcohol to feel the same effects.

You may find you do not get drunk when you drink the same amount as you used to. This is when you develop tolerance to alcohol.

If you can drink a lot without getting drunk, it can give you a false sense of security. If you do not get drunk, your drinking may be less ‘messy’. This might mean you think it’s less serious.

Tips to avoid alcohol tolerance

Becoming tolerant to alcohol is one of the signs that you may be dependent on alcohol.

Be aware of how you are drinking so that you do not gradually start to drink more.


  • stay within the weekly low-risk guidelines of less than 17 standard drinks for men and 11 for women

  • know how fast you’re drinking - sip, do not gulp

  • know how often you’re drinking and have at least 2 alcohol-free days a week

  • avoid heavy drinking days

  • limit time spent in drinking situations or with friends who are heavy drinkers

  • have a mix of friends and activities

  • fill in a weekly alcohol diary from time to time - check back and make sure you are not starting to drink more


  • do not drink as a reaction to emotional upset or problems - talk to a friend or find other ways to cope

  • do not use alcohol to relieve work stress

  • do not start to drink earlier or before you go out


If you are worried about your alcohol use, take our alcohol test to find out what type of drinker you are.

Non-urgent advice: Get help with problem alcohol use

Freephone 1800 459 459 for confidential advice

Page last reviewed: 23 September 2022
Next review due: 23 September 2025