Don’t most people abuse alcohol?

By David Joel Miller.

How common is alcohol abuse? Morning Question #26

No, most people in America do not currently abuse alcohol! Half the adults in America did not have an alcoholic drink in the last 30 days. According to Kinney (Loosening the Grip, 2009), the top ten percent heaviest drinkers in America consume 60% of all the alcohol. Add in the next ten percent and the twenty percent heaviest drinkers consume 80% of all the liquor we drink here in America.

Now, most heavy drinkers (Alcoholics) believe that most people drink like they do. Truth is most people in America do not drink that much. A few do most of the drinking.

But the amount consumed does not tell the whole story. You can drink once a year and still have an alcohol problem. It is not what you drink or when you drink that defines an alcohol use disorder.

One client told me he only drinks once a year on New Years. But the last three years, when he drank he ended up getting DUI’s or was arrested for other alcohol-related problems. Clearly, he had a problem.

As we noticed earlier drinking a lot on one occasion called Binge Drinking causes significant damage to the body. It also causes extra problems for senior citizens.

Much of the alcohol use disorders happen among the young. Most college students think everyone on campus drinks heavily and they are surprised to find out that most students do not drink alcoholically. As we age many people tend to cut back on their drinking, some stop altogether.

The worry is what negative consequences do they and others around them undergo before they learned to not abuse alcohol.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books


2 thoughts on “Don’t most people abuse alcohol?

  1. It’s interesting the lies and false beliefs we tell ourselves and convince ourselves of in order to “feel better” about feeling and acting “bad.” Very egocentric and childlike in some ways. Similar to how the child growing up in a dysfunctional environment: domestic violence, substance abuse, and other forms of neglect and abuse doesn’t gain a sense that what they are experiencing isn’t “normal” until they begin to socialize and experience the differences other children have. Some of that wrong sense of what is “normal” seems to stick and help keep us stuck.


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