Once problem drinking meet the criteria for dependency it is now given a new medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” (AUD).
According to the latest data, approximately 14 percent or 20 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older have AUD. This includes 14 million men and 6 million women. Adolescents can be diagnosed with an AUD as well, and in 2012, an estimated 855,000 adolescents ages 12–17 had an AUD.
Moderate use may be defined as drinking that does not generally cause any problems. Moderate use, up to two drinks per day, is not considered "harmful" for most healthy adults.
Can Someone Simply Cut Down?
The ability to control someone’s drinking depends if that person is an alcoholic. If they are an alcoholic, then the answer is “no”, they have lost the capability to cut down on the use of alcohol. Alcoholics who try to cut down on drinking rarely succeed. Stopping all alcohol is the recommended path of recovery. People who are not alcohol dependent but who have experienced alcohol-related problems may be able to limit the amount they drink. If they can’t stay within those limits, they probably need to seek treatment and stop drinking altogether.
Consequences of Alcohol
Here are some of the possible drinking consequences:
- Heavy use can also cause cirrhosis of the liver
- Cost the U.S. approximately $185 billion per year
- It increases the risk of death from automobile crashes
- Heavy use can increase the risk for certain cancers
Alcohol Effects on the Body – (PDF)