What is Excessive Alcohol Use?
What is excessive alcohol use?
Excessive drinking includes:
- Binge drinking: For women, binge drinking is 4 or more drinks consumed on one occasion (one occasion = 2-3 hours). For men, binge drinking is 5 or more drinks consumed on one occasion.
- Underage drinking: Any alcohol use by those under age 21.
- Heavy drinking: For women, heavy drinking is 8 drinks or more per week. For men, heavy drinking is 15 drinks or more per week.
- Pregnant drinking: Any alcohol use by pregnant women
What is considered a "drink"?
U.S. standard drink sizes:
- 12 ounces of 5% ABV beer
- 8 ounces of 7% ABV malt liquor
- 5 ounces of 12% ABV wine
- 1.5 ounces of 40% ABV (80-proof) distilled spirits or liquor (examples: gin, rum, vodka, whiskey)
How does excessive drinking affect us?
- 88,000 deaths per year
- Violence, injuries, and motor vehicle crashes
- Risky sexual behaviors, unintended pregnancies, miscarriage and stillbirth
- Chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure
- $249 billion economic cost
Binge drinking is the main problem
- Over 90% of excessive drinkers binge drink
- 1 in 6 more than 38 million U.S. adults binge drink
- Binge drinkers do so about 4 times a month
- Binge drinkers average 8 drinks per binge
- Most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent or alcoholics
If you choose to drink, do so in moderation
- No one should begin drinking or drink more frequently based on potential health benefits
- Up to 1 drink a day for women
- Up to 2 drinks a day for men
- Don't drink at all if you are under age 21, pregnant or may be pregnant, or have health problems that could be made worse by drinking
For more information: www.cdc.gov/alcohol
- Page last reviewed: October 18, 2016
- Page last updated: October 18, 2016
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