Press Release – Embargoed until: Thursday, November 20, 2014, Noon ET Contact: pdf icon 9 out of 10 excessive drinkers are not alcohol dependent 89.8%: Excessive Drinkers Who are Not Dependent 10.2%: Excessive Drinkers Who are Dependent Entire Infographic pdf icon Nine in 10 adults who drink too much alcohol are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
- The study appears today in the CDC journal Preventing Chronic Disease,
- Excessive drinking includes binge drinking (four or more drinks on an occasion for women, five or more drinks on an occasion for men); consuming eight or more drinks a week for women or 15 or more drinks a week for men; or any alcohol use by pregnant women or those under the minimum legal drinking age of 21.
Alcohol dependence is a chronic medical condition that typically includes a current or past history of excessive drinking, a strong craving for alcohol, continued use despite repeated problems with drinking, and an inability to control alcohol consumption.
- This study shows that, contrary to popular opinion, most people who drink too much are not alcohol dependent or alcoholics,” said Robert Brewer, M.D., M.S.P.H., Alcohol Program Lead at CDC and one of the report’s authors.
- It also emphasizes the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to reducing excessive drinking that includes evidence-based community strategies, screening and counseling in healthcare settings, and high-quality substance abuse treatment for those who need it.” The study found that nearly 1 in 3 adults is an excessive drinker, and most of them binge drink, usually on multiple occasions.
In contrast, about 1 in 30 adults is classified as alcohol dependent. The rates of alcohol dependence increase with the amount of alcohol consumed. About 10 percent of binge drinkers are alcohol dependent, while 30 percent of people who binge frequently (10 or more times a month) are alcohol dependent.
Excessive alcohol use is responsible for 88,000 deaths in the U.S. each year (including about 3,700 deaths from alcohol dependence), and cost the U.S. $223.5 billion in 2006. These deaths were due to health effects from drinking too much over time, such as breast cancer, liver disease, and heart disease; and health effects from drinking too much in a short period of time, such as violence, alcohol poisoning, and motor vehicle crashes.
Excessive drinkers who are dependent often need specialized or more intensive treatment to change their behavior. People who drink too much, but are not dependent, can still be encouraged to drink less through state and local interventions that increase the price and limit the availability of alcohol.
- In addition those who are not dependent may be candidates for other clinical interventions, including screening and counseling offered by doctors and other health professionals.
- CDC and SAMHSA scientists analyzed data on 138,100 U.S.
- Adults aged 18 years and older from all 50 states and D.C.
- Who participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) in 2009, 2010, or 2011.
The survey includes a wide range of questions on substance use, including current drinking, binge drinking, average alcohol consumption, and symptoms of alcohol dependence. The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends several evidence-based strategies to reduce excessive drinking, including increasing alcohol taxes, regulating alcohol outlet density, and holding alcohol retailers liable for harms resulting from illegal sales to minors or intoxicated patrons.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening and counseling for excessive drinking for all adult patients. This service is covered by most insurance plans, and can also be delivered by computer or telephone. For more information about excessive drinking, including binge drinking, and how to prevent this dangerous behavior, visit the CDC’s Alcohol and Public Health website at http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/index.htm.
Members of the public who are concerned about their own or someone else’s drinking can call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at1-800-662-HELP to receive assistance from the Treatment Referral Routing Service. ### U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES external icon
Does drinking alcohol every day make you an alcoholic?
Drinking problems and denial – Denial is one of the biggest obstacles to getting help for alcohol abuse and alcoholism. The desire to drink is so strong that the mind finds many ways to rationalize drinking, even when the consequences are obvious. By keeping you from looking honestly at your behavior and its negative effects, denial also exacerbates alcohol-related problems with work, finances, and relationships.
Drastically underestimating how much you drink Downplaying the negative consequences of your drinking Complaining that family and friends are exaggerating the problem Blaming your drinking or drinking-related problems on others
For example, you may blame an ‘unfair boss’ for trouble at work or a ‘nagging wife’ for your marital issues, rather than think about how your drinking is contributing to the problem. While work, relationship, and financial stresses happen to everyone, an overall pattern of deterioration and blaming others may be a sign of trouble.
|Five myths about alcoholism and alcohol abuse
|Myth: I can stop drinking anytime I want to. Fact: Maybe you can; more likely, you can’t. Either way, it’s just an excuse to keep drinking. The truth is, you don’t want to stop. Telling yourself you can quit makes you feel in control, despite all evidence to the contrary and no matter the damage it’s causing.
|Myth: My drinking is my problem. I’m the one it hurts, so no one has the right to tell me to stop. Fact: It’s true that the decision to quit drinking is up to you. But you are deceiving yourself if you think that your drinking hurts no one else but you. Alcoholism affects everyone around you—especially the people closest to you. Your problem is their problem.
|Myth: I don’t drink every day OR I only drink wine or beer, so I can’t be an alcoholic. Fact: Alcoholism is NOT defined by what you drink, when you drink it, or even how much you drink. It’s the EFFECTS of your drinking that define a problem. If your drinking is causing problems in your home or work life, you have a drinking problem—whether you drink daily or only on the weekends, down shots of tequila or stick to wine, drink three bottles of beers a day or three bottles of whiskey.
|Myth: I’m not an alcoholic because I have a job and I’m doing okay. Fact: You don’t have to be homeless and drinking out of a brown paper bag to be an alcoholic. Many alcoholics are able to hold down jobs, get through school, and provide for their families. Some are even able to excel. But just because you’re a high-functioning alcoholic doesn’t mean you’re not putting yourself or others in danger. Over time, the effects will catch up with you.
|Myth: Drinking is not a “real” addiction like drug abuse. Fact: Alcohol is a drug, and alcoholism is every bit as damaging as drug addiction. Alcohol addiction causes changes in the body and brain, and long-term alcohol abuse can have devastating effects on your health, your career, and your relationships. Alcoholics go through physical withdrawal when they stop drinking, just like drug users experience when they quit.
Is it normal for someone to drink alcohol every day?
Mayo Clinic Q and A: Is daily drinking problem drinking? DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Is it possible to become an alcoholic just by having one or two drinks nightly? I have a glass or two of wine with dinner but never drink to the point of feeling drunk. Should I be concerned? ANSWER: Occasional beer or wine with dinner, or a drink in the evening, is not a health problem for most people.
- When drinking becomes a daily activity, though, it may represent progression of your consumption and place you at increased health risks.
- From your description of your drinking habits, it may be time to take a closer look at how much you drink.
- Drinking alcohol in moderation generally is not a cause for concern.
According to the, drinking is considered to be in the moderate or low-risk range for women at no more than three drinks in any one day and no more than seven drinks per week. For men, it is no more than four drinks a day and no more than 14 drinks per week. That said, it’s easy to drink more than a standard drink in one glass. For example, many wine glasses hold far more than 5 ounces. You could easily drink 8 ounces of wine in a glass. If you have two of those glasses during a meal, you are consuming about three standard drinks.
Although not drinking to the point of becoming drunk is a common way people gauge how much they should drink, it can be inaccurate. Researchers who study find that people with high tolerance to alcohol, who do not feel the effects of alcohol after they drink several alcoholic beverages, are actually at a higher risk for alcohol-related problems.
It’s also important to note that, even though you may not feel the effects of alcohol, you still have the same amount of alcohol in your body as someone who starts to feel intoxicated after one or two drinks. Your lack of response to the alcohol may be related to an increase in your body’s alcohol tolerance over time.
- Some people are born with high tolerance; many people develop a tolerance with regular drinking.
- Drinking more than the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommended limits puts you in the category of “at-risk” drinking.
- That means you have a higher risk for negative consequences related to your alcohol use, including health and social problems.
You are also at higher risk of becoming addicted to alcohol. Alcohol can damage your body’s organs and lead to various health concerns. For women, this damage happens with lower doses of alcohol, because their bodies have lower water content than men. That’s why the moderate drinking guidelines for women and men are so different.
- The specific organ damage that happens with too much alcohol use varies considerably from one person to another.
- The most common health effects include heart, liver and nerve damage, as well as memory problems and sexual dysfunction.
- Unless you notice specific negative consequences related to your drinking, it probably is not necessary for you to quit drinking alcohol entirely.
However, I would strongly encourage you to reduce the amount you drink, so it fits within the guidelines of moderate drinking. Doing so can protect your health in the long run. —, Psychiatry and Psychology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota : Mayo Clinic Q and A: Is daily drinking problem drinking?
What happens when you drink alcohol for 30 years?
How does drinking damage the body? – Drinking too much at one time or on any given day, or having too many drinks over the course of a week, increases the risk of harmful consequences, including injuries and health problems. People who consistently misuse alcohol over time are also at greater risk of developing alcohol use disorder. Drinking too much alcohol over a long time can:
Lead to some kinds of cancer, liver damage, immune system disorders, and brain damage Worsen some health conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, ulcers, memory loss, and mood disorders Make some medical conditions hard for doctors to accurately diagnose and treat. For example, alcohol causes changes in the heart and blood vessels. These changes can dull pain that might be a warning sign of a heart attack. Cause some older people to be forgetful and confused — symptoms that could be mistaken for signs of Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.
Is it ever too late for an alcoholic?
Rehab has no age limit – As we’ve said before, recovery is a lifelong process. If you have been excessively drinking alcohol over the years, you will not be able to give up by yourself; you will need to do it in a controlled, safe zone – such as a rehab centre such as Delamere,
- But it’s not just alcohol which is a problem.
- The older you get, the more chance you have of being put on prescribed medication.
- Having a cocktail of substances – and mixing them with alcohol – is highly dangerous and could cause life-changing and life-threatening effects to your health.
- If you are ready to seek help, speak to a medical professional.
Some symptoms you could experience if you go cold turkey include cold sweats, increased pulse, nausea, vomiting, shaky hands, and intense anxiety.
Why do some people drink alcohol every day?
5 Reasons Why People Drink Alcohol – People drink alcohol for various reasons including relaxation, socializing, escaping problems, etc. For some people, consuming alcohol can lead to alcohol dependence if they drink too often. Here are some of the common reasons why people may drink alcohol:
Do all heavy drinkers become alcoholics?
Even binge drinkers are not necessarily alcoholics about 29 percent of the population meets the definition for excessive drinking, but 90 percent of them do not meet the definition of alcoholism.