According to a new study, the majority of people who drink too much alcohol are not, in fact, classifiable as alcoholics. The study, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that while one in three adults are binge-drinking, nine in ten of those adults are not full-blown alcohol dependent.
“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.
“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.”
These findings are a government survey of 138,100 adults. Excessive drinking is viewed as a major public health problem that results in 88,000 deaths per year, from causes that include alcohol poisoning and liver disease, to car accidents and other accidental deaths.
Excessive drinking is defined as drinking too much at one time or over the course of a week. For men, it’s having five or more drinks in one sitting or 15 drinks or more during a week. For women, it’s four drinks on one occasion or eight drinks over the course of a week.
But the conclusion of this study reveals the fact that about 29 percent of the population meets the definition for excessive drinking, but however, 90 percent of them do not meet the definition of alcoholism.
As far as measures are concerned, simply raising the price of alcoholic beverages by 10 percent has been shown to reduce alcohol consumption by 7 percent in studies. This basically means that higher taxes on alcohol would cut excessive drinking. Even simple interventions from physicians talking with patients about their alcohol consumption curbs behavior somewhat.
Moreover a 2010 New York City advertising initiative, called Two drinks ago, had effective results. In the NYC effort, posters depicted a businessman bruised and bleeding with the phrase “two drinks ago you would have walked away” and a well-dressed women slumped over drunk and wording “two drinks ago you could still get yourself home.” They both featured a tagline that read “Stop drinking while you’re still thinking.”