Look to your left. Look to your right. At least one of you probably drinks too much, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. drinks alcohol excessively, the CDC found in a study released Thursday. It defines excess as consuming eight or more drinks per week for women or 15 or more for men; or any use of alcohol by pregnant women or people under 21—the latter a metric that may raise many a college student’s eyebrows.
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Excessive drinking also includes binging, or four or more drinks at a time for a woman and five or more for a man, according to the CDC.
The CDC’s study finding emphasizes that, though many people drink excessively, most are not actually dependent on alcohol. While about a third of adults drink excessively (and most of those binge), one in 30 is alcohol-dependent, according to the study.
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The CDC notes excessive drinking accounts for 88,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, 3,700 of which are due to alcohol dependence—and emphasizes that, while those who are alcohol-dependent may require special assistance, state and local measures to raise the price or limit the availability of alcohol could help curb the public health risks of drinking for many people.
“These deaths were due to health effects from drinking too much over time, such as breast cancer, liver disease, and heart disease; and health effects from drinking too much in a short period of time, such as violence, alcohol poisoning, and motor vehicle crashes,” the CDC said in a statement.
The study, of 138,100 Americans age 18 and older, was done in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and was published Thursday in the CDC journal Preventing Chronic Disease.