Chin Chin

World’s Best Study Says Most Heavy Drinkers Aren’t Alcoholics

Shots on the house, then.
Shots on the house, then. Photo: John Rensten/Getty Images

If you overdrink, first of all, welcome to the club: 29 percent of all Americans have a standing invitation. But second of all, congratulations! New research shows there’s a 90 percent chance you aren’t an alcoholic after all. The Centers for Disease Control studied 138,100 adults, looked at their consumption, then came to this conclusion: “Contrary to popular opinion, most people who drink too much are not alcohol dependent.”

Many people equate a habit of being drunk with alcohol dependence, but that’s maybe not true, the lead author explains. “Excessive” drinking for men is defined as 5 or more drinks in one evening, or 15 drinks or more in one week. For women, it’s four drinks, or eight over a week. Overdrinking is of course nothing to sneeze at. It also doesn’t make a certain breed of en masse over-imbiber any less of a scourge. Researchers say they aren’t trying to send a message that excessive drinking and dependency are not problems, but instead want to shift the way the behavior is received by health officials and policy makers. A study has shown, for example, that raising the price of certain beverages just by 10 percent is sufficient to curb consumption by 7 percent.

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World’s Best Study Says Most Heavy Drinkers Aren’t Alcoholics