Most heavy drinkers aren't alcoholics

A full one-third of  adults in the U.S. qualify as excessive drinkers, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), but only a small percentage of them are true alcoholics.

A CDC study looked at more than 138,000 U.S. adults from 2009 to 2011. Approximately one in three individuals participated in binge drinking frequently--binge drinking is defined as women consuming four or more drinks in one sitting and men consuming five or more drinks in one sitting. Additionally, any alcohol consumed by minors under 21 or pregnant women was marked as excessive.

Even though the amount of alcohol consumed is high, only 10 percent of the participants showed signs of being alcohol dependent—craving alcohol, continuing to drink despite problems with alcohol, or losing control of their alcohol consumption. The report found that only one in 30 people from the study were alcohol dependent.

The researchers did note that although most excessive drinkers most likely won’t need drug treatment, steps should be taken to discourage excessive drinking, such as alcohol taxes. The study was published in Preventing Chronic Disease.

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Sourced from:, 1 in 3 Adults Drink Excessively, but Aren't Alcoholics, CDC Finds