A new study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed that nine out of ten heavy drinkers are not alcoholics because they do not satisfy the criteria for classifying alcoholics. According to the study, a woman must drink eight or more drinks per week to be considered an alcoholic, and a man must consume 15 or more drinks per week to be classified as a heavy drinker. This means that binging constitutes drinking four drinks in a row for women, and five drinks in a single occasion for men.
While 90% of heavy drinkers cannot be called alcoholics, the author of the study, Robert Brewer warns that drinkers should not take the result of the study as license to consume immoderate amount of liquor or beer. According to him, statistics still point to the fact that unhealthy drinking causes the deaths of about 88,000 people annually in the US; and it causes health complications like breast cancer, liver, heart disease, and even contributes to road auto accidents.
“Anybody who takes from this paper that excessive drinking is not dangerous unless you are dependent is simply not getting the message, which is that drinking too much is bad, period,” Brewer stated. The research further established that most alcoholics are persons whose annual incomes fall below $25,000.
138,000 adults were analyzed for the survey that produced the study, and Brewer said the results of the study was useful for developing effective strategies for reducing alcohol consumption, while it might serve as basis to raise the taxes on alcohol or even reduce the number of stores selling alcohol.
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 athttp://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.