Where Are You on the Drinking Scale?

Most people assume that there are only two options when it comes to drinking. You are either a moderate drinker that has a nice glass of wine with dinner and nothing more, or a raging alcoholic who has a bottle of wine with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

However, researchers have recently found that the drinking scale has a lot more points between moderate drinkers and alcoholics. In a recent study which was published in Preventing Chronic Disease, it was found that many adults may drink moderately during the week, and then excessively on the weekends.

This research has also found that about 1 in every 3 American adults drinks excessively, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are alcoholics. The next question for many people is what determines excessive drinking? The truth may surprise you.

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Image credit: flickr/mackan

For women, consuming more than seven beverages per week is considered excessive. For men, more than fourteen drinks per week is excessive. For this study, one drink was defined as 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of spirits, or 12 ounces of beer.

So, say I have a smallish glass of wine with dinner most nights of the week. Then I go out on Saturday night and have a cocktail and a beer, or maybe more wine. Does this means I am drinking excessively?

“That’s correct, as a woman, if you were to drink eight or more [drinks] per week, that is considered in the category of excessive drinking,” Brewer says.

Turns out, a lot of us are not the moderate drinkers we thought we were.

Now, Brewer points out that most excessive drinkers follow much more of a binge-like pattern, where they’re drinking four or more drinks per occasion.

And, from a health perspective, the more people drink to excess, the higher their risks. Brewer points to a host of diseases that are linked to excessive alcohol use over time. “This could include breast cancer, for example, liver disease, liver cancer, heart disease,” to name a few.

Excessive alcohol consumption, according to the CDC, is responsible for 88,000 deaths per year and costs the U.S. more than $200 billion.

Now, there’s also a surprising finding to the new study: 90 percent of excessive drinkers are not alcohol dependent, i.e., alcoholics.

“This study shows that, contrary to popular opinion, most people who drink too much are not alcohol dependent,” says Brewer.

Source: npr.org



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