Addiction vs. Moderation Problem

If you find it tough to relax or enjoy yourself without having a drink, it’s possible that your drinking habit has crossed the line from moderate and social to problematic. Drinking in moderation, according to the CDC, is defined as limiting your alcohol intake to 1 drink or less in a day for women and 2 drinks or less in a day for men.

But does drinking more than this mean you have an addiction problem? Absolutely not!

Addiction vs. Moderation Problem

Addiction vs. Difficulty With Moderation

Studies have established that 9 in 10 adults who drink heavily are not considered alcohol dependent. Addiction to alcohol is a chronic illness that needs medically-supervised treatment to recover from it.

But having a difficulty with moderating your drinking habit is different, and you can say, less severe. It is natural to want to quit or cut down on your drinking if your goal is to live a healthier, more mindful lifestyle. Going over some addiction education could help you decide if you may have an addiction to drinking (and should seek a medical opinion) or if you just have a problematic relationship with drinking.

Excessive drinking – while very different from addiction – can increase the risk of developing health conditions, such as liver disease, digestive problems, and high blood pressure. It’s a common misconception that terms associated with damaging behavior concerning smoking, alcohol, and drugs are interchangeable.

The difference between being addicted to something and having a problem in practicing moderation while using it lies in the spectrum of addiction. The term “addiction” refers to the most severe form of a full spectrum of substance misuse. It’s a chronic medical condition caused by repeated misuse of a substance and characterized by continued use despite harmful consequences.  

Many heavy drinkers think that complete abstinence is the only solution for a drinking problem but that’s not true for everyone. For some people, learning how to drink more moderately is a more attainable and realistic goal. For many others, moderation is often the first step toward quitting drinking/drug use altogether.

Moderation: A Realistic Goal For People With Less Severe Substance Use Problems

Multiple studies support the fact that with proper help, many people with less severe drinking/drug use problems can achieve better control over their situation and keep the consumption within safer limits.

More and more addiction education professionals are recognizing that not everyone with a drinking problem is alcohol dependent and that this issue actually lies on a spectrum, rather than a single condition that is either absent or present.

For example, on one end of the spectrum are people who can’t think of a Friday night without having a few drinks to get a bit tipsy, and on the other end are people for whom alcohol has become more important than their families, jobs, and pretty much everything else.

Take This Quick, Free Screener To See If Your Drinking Habits Are Risking Your Health

At CheckUp & Choices, we have a 10-question screening test for people who want to gauge whether their drinking habits are compromising their ability to lead a happier, healthier life. This questionnaire was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and evaluated in hundreds of countries worldwide.

The test only takes a minute and will give you objective feedback about your drinking and your willingness to change your alcohol use. If you want a deeper understanding of your relationship with alcohol and its impact on your life, consider signing up for our more comprehensive CheckUp. If you’ve already decided you want to change your drinking habits, the 3–12 month, self-guided Choices Program might be a good option.

CheckUp & Choices is a scientifically-proven wellness program which has helped thousands of heavy drinkers to reduce the intensity, quantity, and frequency of their drinking. And with an excellent money-back guarantee, you have nothing to lose!