An Introduction to Alcohol Abuse in Men
The stats for men are more grim than for women unfortunately.
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Almost 59% of adult men report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days compared with 47% of adult women
- Men are almost 2x more likely to binge drink than women
- Approximately 22% of men report binge drinking and on average do so 5 times a month, consuming 8 drinks per binge.
- In 2019, 7% of men had an alcohol use disorder compared with 4% of women
- Nearly 3 of 4 deaths from excessive drinking are among males – totaling roughly 68,000 deaths per year
What exactly quantifies and qualifies alcohol abuse and alcoholism though?
First, alcoholism is the colloquial term for an alcohol use disorder or AUD and an AUD is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.
An alcohol use disorder is diagnosed along a spectrum, from mild to moderate to severe. More on that later though.
It’s worth addressing what terms like moderate, heavy and binge drinking mean for men because the numbers might surprise you and can help shine some light on if a man in your life is on the way towards bigger problems.
According to the CDC:
- Moderate Drinking – 2 drinks or less in a day
- Heavy Drinking – 15 drinks or more per week
- Binge Drinking – 5 or more drinks on a single occasion, generally within 2 hours that brings the blood alcohol concentration to above .08%
Notice that if someone is drinking moderately – just two drinks – but doing so every day of the week, it’s more or less considered heavy drinking. It might not indicate an immediate problem but these numbers indicate what is often a stark disconnect between what we, or a drinker, considers “normal” and what the science and research-informed guidance suggest.