A new study released recently by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 90% of problem drinking does not result from alcohol dependence, instead these cases involve those who drink excessively or who binge drink but who are not physically dependent on alcohol. One of the researchers and study authors, CDC Alcohol Program Lead Dr. Robert Brewer, M.D., M.S.P.H., explained “This study shows that, contrary to popular opinion, most people who drink too much are not alcohol-dependent or alcoholics. It also emphasizes the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to reducing excessive drinking that includes evidence-based community strategies, screening, and counseling in health care settings, and high-quality substance abuse treatment for those who need it.”
Problem drinking affects millions of people around the world, but the latest study shows that 9 out of every 10 problem drinkers are not experiencing alcohol dependence. Alcohol dependence requires much more intensive treatment than problem drinking that is due to binge drinking or excessive alcohol dependence. Anyone with a problem when it comes to alcohol should be encouraged to consume less of this substance, but any treatment may not be as intensive or last as long. Excessive alcohol consumption and binge drinking both carry many risks and health complications, but these are not as severe as alcohol dependence. If you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol, whether you are dependent or you just drink too much at times, there are programs which can help.