How do you define alcohol consumption?

Agnesian HealthCare Work and Wellness

Written by: Terra Braatz, MSE, NCC, LPC, Agnesian HealthCare, Agnesian Work & Wellness EAP Supervisor

Binge drinking by young people in some wealthy, developed countries has increased over the past two decades, even as overall alcohol consumption has fallen, according to an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development study.

Average annual alcohol consumption in the OECD's 34 member nations fell 2.5 percent over the past 20 years, to 9.1 liters (2.4 gallons) of pure alcohol per capita, the Associated Press reported.

So how does one determine what is moderate, heavy or binge drinking?

What is moderate drinking? There is no one definition of moderate drinking, but generally the term is used to describe low-risk or responsible drinking. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, drinking in moderation is defined as having no more than one drink per day for women, and no more than two drinks per day for men. This definition is referring to the amount consumed on a single day and is not intended as an average over several days. One drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, eight ounces of malt liquor, five ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces or a shot of distilled liquor.

What is heavy drinking? For men, heavy drinking is typically defined as consuming an average of more than two drinks per day. For women, heavy drinking is typically defined as consuming an average of more than one drink per day.

What is binge drinking? According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is defined as a pattern of alcohol consumption that brings the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to 0.08 percent or higher. This pattern of drinking usually corresponds to more than four drinks on a single occasion for men, or more than three drinks on a single occasion for women, generally within about two hours.

How do I know if I have a drinking concern or issue? Drinking is a concern if it causes trouble in your relationships, in school, in social activities or in how you think and feel. If you are concerned that either you or someone in your family might have a drinking issue, consult Agnesian Health-Care’s Work and Wellness Employee Assistance Program.

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