Drinking In Moderation Vs Abstinence

How does someone go from a meth addict, to a Ph.D. in psychology, to a mental health professional intent on radically changing the way his peers treat addiction? The editorial staff of DrugAbuse.com is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers . Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance.

If your life has been a wreck on account of your addictive conduct, why take the chance? The participants also ranked their overall health using categories ranging from poor to excellent.

Controlled Drinking

We found that among the alcohol-abstinent study participants at baseline , there were 405 (90.60%) former alcohol consumers. Of the abstainers, 322 (72.04%) had met one or more criteria for former alcohol or drug dependence or abuse, alcohol risky drinking, or had tried to cut down or to stop drinking, were daily smokers, or self-rated their health as fair to poor. Among the abstainers effects of alcohol with one or more of these risk factors, 114 (35.40%) had an alcohol use disorder or risky alcohol consumption in their history. Another 161 (50.00%) did not have such an alcohol-related risk but were daily smokers. The 322 alcohol-abstinent study participants with one or more of the risk factors had a shorter time to death than those with low to moderate alcohol consumption.

The risk factors included former alcohol or drug dependence or abuse, alcohol risky drinking, having tried to cut down or to stop drinking, tobacco smoking, and self-rated fair to poor health. Many of these trials have been conducted for weeks, and in a few cases months and even up to 2 years, to look at changes in the blood, but a long-term trial to test experimentally the effects of alcohol on cardiovascular disease has not been done. A recent successful effort in the U.S. to launch an international study was funded by the National Institutes of Health. Although the proposal was peer-reviewed and initial participants had been randomized to drink in moderation or to abstain, post hoc the NIH decided to stop the trial due to internal policy concerns. Non-abstinent goals can improve quality of life among individuals with alcohol use disorders . However, prior studies have defined “recovery” based on DSM criteria, and thus may have excluded individuals using non-abstinent techniques that do not involve reduced drinking. Furthermore, no prior study has considered length of time in recovery when comparing QOL between abstinent and non-abstinent individuals.

Drinking In Moderation Vs Abstinence Effectiveness

WIR is also cross-sectional by design, though it did include questions about lifetime drug and alcohol use. Former alcohol use disorders, risky consumption, efforts to cut down on drinking, ever daily tobacco smoking, and fair to poor health may predict early death among alcohol abstainers. Alcohol moderation also sometimes thought of as controlled drinking involves abstinence vs moderation careful monitoring of alcohol consumption to try to avoid problematic drinking. The idea behind drinking in moderation versus abstinence is that some people may not want complete abstinence from alcohol. While not as popular traditionally for treatment, the alcohol moderation movement has grown recently, and moderation management programs are on the rise.

moderate drinking vs abstinence

Here we found that a number of factors distinguish non-abstainers from abstainers in recovery from AUD, including younger age and lower problem severity. Furthermore, quality of life appeared significantly better among abstainers than non-abstainers. How do the specifics of AA and other mutual aid group involvement affect long-term recovery? Do those in non-abstinent recovery have more perceived control over alcohol? Finally, we hope to further investigate the overlap between “remission” and “recovery” from AUD, especially in the context of harm reduction. Healthy alcohol abstainers who have no alcohol- or tobacco-related risk factors may not have a higher mortality than low to moderate alcohol consumers. For all we know, it might also be an option for people who do meet criteria for alcohol dependence but since the study we’re about to assess didn’t talk about it, we’ll leave that for later.

Moderate Drinking May Have Some Health Benefits

Once you form your new drinking habit, you’ll want to maintain it. Most of us can look back to a period when we’d developed a healthy exercise routine or improved our diet only to lose momentum and regress to old patterns of behavior.

Have you ever been around an alcoholic who has tried to stop drinking without any help? While achieving moderation is possible, the reality is that most recovering alcoholics will choose the abstinence route. Staying away from alcohol entirely is one of the best ways to prevent a relapse. Maintaining abstinence and focusing on building relapse prevention skills are vital strategies to sustain long-term sobriety.

Is Drinking In Moderation Possible For Alcoholics?

I had no real compelling reason to quit and didn’t think much about it until much later. It just seemed like the right choice for me at this point in my life. I haven’t had a compelling reason to start drinking again once I stopped. If you already drink alcohol or plan to begin, keep it moderate—no more than 2 drinks a day for men or 1 drink a day for women. And make sure you get adequate amounts of folate, at least 400 micrograms a day. For a 60-year-old man, a drink a day may offer protection against heart disease that is likely to outweigh potential harm (assuming he isn’t prone to alcoholism). The social and psychological benefits of alcohol can’t be ignored.

  • Moderation management encourages personal responsibility instead of turning over control to something external.
  • Of course, this is easier to do at home—but you can try communicating your needs to the bartender or waiter.
  • People with severe drinking problems generally find moderation difficult to maintain and often do better with abstinence.
  • There are various ways that individuals can take advantage of face-to-face gatherings, very much like what is offered by moderation management, or they can settle on online experiences that can fulfill the same need in a more adaptable way.

The results support the view that people in the general population who currently are abstinent from alcohol do not necessarily have a shorter survival time than the population with low to moderate alcohol consumption. Increased mortality risks among abstainers might largely be explained by previous alcohol or drug problems, risky drinking, daily smoking, and self-rated health as fair to poor. The findings speak against recommendations to drink alcohol for health reasons.

Jessica Jones’ Alcoholism

This word “abstinence” can be an intimidating word to many, especially those in the early stages of recovery. Your whole body may convulse saying, “I’ll do anything, just don’t ask me or tell me that I have to stop forever.” This is normal. If this is how you feel, commit yourself to being open to new ideals and beliefs that may result in a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. SMART Recovery is a global community of people and families working together to resolve addictive problems. In our free group discussion meetings, participants learn from one another using a self-empowering approach based on the most current science of recovery. We encourage you to take the Alcohol Self-Assessment Tests on this website to start developing a better perspective on your drinking behavior and whether abstinence or moderation might be best for you. Keep in mind, however, that no self-assessment test or quiz can substitute for a face-to-face clinical evaluation by a treatment professional.

moderate drinking vs abstinence

Among these abstainers, 248 (55.48%) were female, 201 (44.97%) at age 50 to 64, and 122 (27.29%) self-rated their health in general as fair to poor. Among low to moderate alcohol consumers, 1,368 (62.10%) were female, 728 (33.05%) at age 50 to 64, and 358 (16.25%) who self-rated their health in general as fair to poor.

Our experienced team is committed to transforming alcohol addiction treatment. It’s often thought that those who struggle with alcoholism can never return to a normal pattern of drinking. Even one drink, the theory goes, and an alcoholic will spiral into a dangerous pattern of e… Promising yourself a rich dessert after several days of eating healthy can help keep your diet on track. In the same way, being able to limit yourself to just one or two glasses of wine after a long day at work can motivate you to drink responsibly. You may be more likely to cut back on your drinking if you know you won’t have to give it up entirely. The content on DrugAbuse.com is brought to you by American Addiction Centers , a nationwide network of leading substance abuse and behavioral treatment facilities.

There is the problem drinker, who drinks too much quite frequently. This individual enjoys the effect produced by alcohol – just as the alcoholic does. However, once this individual begins to experience consequences due to their drinking, they have no issue putting down the drink altogether.

Japanese Alcohol Culture

My dad also ended up in AA, but it’s never seemed like quite the right fit. His bigger issue has always been depression more than drinking, but he’s part of a generation of men that think therapy is for the weak.

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