Many Americans feel comfortable drinking in what they consider to be moderation — a glass or two of wine a night, for example. However, it’s easier than you may imagine crossing the line from moderate drinking to alcoholism. In fact, many Americans’ drinking habits situate them between being moderate drinkers and alcoholics.

 

A recent CDC study analyzed data from 138,100 adults and their responses to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Be sure not to underestimate the importance of the study; each year, there are 88,000 alcohol-related deaths in the United States, and excessive alcohol consumption costs the county over $200 billion annually.

 

The CDC's study qualified excessive drinking as 8 or more weekly drinks for women, and 15 for men.

The CDC’s study qualified excessive drinking as 8 or more weekly drinks for women, and 15 for men.

Researchers showed that the majority of “excessive drinkers (90 [percent]) did not meet the criteria for alcohol dependence.” Rather, many excessive drinkers may have unhealthy, dangerous drinking habits, although not technically considered alcoholics.

 

In the study, “heavy drinking was defined as [eight] or more drinks per week during the past 30 days for women or 15 or more drinks per week for men.” Therefore, according to the study, if you have a nightly drink, and then a couple more drinks on weekends, you’re an excessive drinker. Given these criteria, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are many heavy drinkers.

 

The risks of heavy drinking over time include, but are not limited to, anemia, various cancers, cardiovascular disease, and depression. However, the fact that many excessive drinkers who are at risk aren’t technically addicted and aren’t alcoholics makes it harder to step in and cut their consumption.

 

What steps do you think can be taken to tackle America’s drinking problem? Share your thoughts below, or on Twitter @ryanlawlessness