If you are a heavy drinker or a problem drinker, are you an alcoholic? Not according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). From a recent peer-reviewed report published by the CDC:
Binge drinking was most common among those with annual family incomes of $75,000 or more, whereas alcohol dependence was most common among those with annual family incomes of less than $25,000… Most excessive drinkers (90%) did not meet the criteria for alcohol dependence.
— Click here to read the full report on the CDC website.
People who are not alcoholics may have success learning to reduce their drinking. For some problem drinkers, even heavy drinkers, abstinence may not be the only choice. Learn more about harm reduction with Dr. Washton.
How much drinking is excessive drinking?
For adult men: five or more drinks in one sitting or 15 drinks or more during a week.
For adult women: four drinks on one occasion or eight drinks over the course of a week. Any drinking while pregnant is defined as “excessive drinking.” Click here to take the alcohol self assessment.
Do talk therapy and groups work for heavy drinkers?
Absolutely. In fact, simple interventions by a physician, talking to patients about their alcohol use, has also been shown to help people make better choices and curb excessive alcohol consumption.
Binge drinkers are not necessarily alcoholics
As reported by Tara Parker Pope in the New York Times:
…about 29 percent of the population meets the definition for excessive drinking, but 90 percent of them do not meet the definition of alcoholism.… [Dr. Robert Brewer, who leads the alcohol program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] noted that excessive drinking is still a challenging problem, but it is not as difficult to address as alcohol addiction can be.
— Click here to read the full article on the New York Times.
Reach out to Dr. Washton. Private. Discrete. Effective.
When drinking has already led to addiction, compulsion, and/or other serious consequences, stopping your drinking completely may be the only solution.
For “problem drinkers” – who by definition are not alcoholic and not physically addicted to alcohol – learning how to moderate alcohol consumption within safer limits can sometimes be realistic and attainable. Our moderate drinking program may be able to help you learn to cut down. Call or click here to find out if moderation is a realistic goal for you.