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Monday, March 9, 2009
Rethinking Drinking Offers Tools to Assess and Change Risky Drinking Habits
"About 3 in 10 U.S. adults drink at levels that elevate their risk for alcoholism, liver disease, and a diverse array of other physical, mental health, and social problems. Yet, many people give little thought to their drinking habits and the attendant risks," notes NIH Acting Director Raynard S. Kington, M.D. "These new materials remind all of us to think about how alcohol may be affecting our health."
Based on results of a NIAAA survey of 43,000 U.S. adults, Rethinking Drinking presents single-day and weekly low-risk limits for men and women. For men, these limits are no more than four drinks on any single day and 14 drinks per week, and for women, no more than three drinks on any day and seven per week. Among people who exceed these limits, about 1 in 4 already has alcoholism or alcohol abuse, and the rest are at increased risk for these and other problems.
"People can still have trouble drinking within these limits, especially if they drink too quickly, have certain medical conditions, or are older," says NIAAA Acting Director Kenneth Warren, Ph.D. Dr. Warren adds that Rethinking Drinking presents information previously released in the NIAAA Clinician's Guide in a comprehensive, user-friendly way for the general public, so that anyone who chooses to drink alcohol can evaluate their individual risk.
"We know that many heavy drinkers are able to change on their own," explains Mark Willenbring, M.D., director of NIAAA's Division of Treatment and Recovery Research. "Rethinking Drinking is a convenient, low-cost way to provide the required information and tools for those able to change before they develop symptoms. People who have more severe alcohol involvement will require professional help, and starting with Rethinking Drinking may help them make the decision to seek help at an earlier stage in the disease process. We think Rethinking Drinking will be used in many different settings, such as doctor's offices, colleges, workplaces, the criminal justice system and pastoral counseling."
Copies of the Rethinking Drinking booklet can be downloaded from the Rethinking Drinking Web site (RethinkingDrinking.niaaa.nih.gov), or ordered from NIAAA by phone at: 301-443-3860.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health, is the primary U.S. agency for conducting and supporting research on the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol problems. NIAAA also disseminates research findings to general, professional, and academic audiences. Additional alcohol research information and publications are available at www.niaaa.nih.gov .
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
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