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Abstinence vs Drinking in Moderation

Mirza Rahman, MD, president of the American College of Preventive Medicine, said that good health behavior in areas such as diet, exercise, and sleep may not be enough to reduce the negative impact of moderate drinking. Large studies published in the past several years, he said, have established that no level of drinking is safe. Along with his colleagues, in the presentation, Vasavada will discuss the scientifically sound pros and cons of both abstinence and drinking in moderation for individuals with AUD.

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It is also worth mentioning some baseline (i.e., pre-treatment) differences between the three groups to get a sense of the types of individuals in each group. Any perceived increase in mortality risk is likely to be due to lifestyle factors preceding abstinence or because of smoking tobacco. The researchers found that 447 (11.1%) participants had not consumed any alcohol in the 12 months before the interviews in 1996–1997. Of those, 405 (90.6%) used to drink alcohol, and 322 (72.04%) had engaged in at least one of the listed risky behaviors. This contradicts the idea that consuming low to moderate amounts of alcohol confers health benefits.

  • If quitting is your ultimate goal, starting with moderation may help you achieve it.
  • Drinking too much alcohol too frequently is unhealthy and can lead to liver disease, weight gain, and alcohol use disorder (AUD).
  • If your drinking does not result in any negative impact on your social, mental, or physical health, moderation may be a good option.
  • This is especially true if you suffer from specific health conditions or are cutting back to avoid increased risk of specific health consequences.

Addiction and Dental health

  • There are no requirements for changing your relationship with alcohol and seeking treatment.
  • Of the 322 with one or more risk factors, 114 (35.4%) had experienced AUD.
  • Chiles points out the “tragedy” is that many people are frightened to seek support for their drinking because they believe they’ll be told that abstinence in their only option.
  • The general definition of moderate drinking is up to one drink per day for women and up to two daily drinks for men.
  • Such reductions are very often the goal of treatment and as such, show some possible promise for the treatment of individuals with alcohol abuse problems.

A key aspect of abstinence is understanding and navigating through the withdrawal process – a daunting task indeed but necessary for recovery. The severity of these symptoms can vary widely depending on how much you are drinking, how frequently, and your overall physical health. Adi Jaffe, Ph.D., is a lecturer at UCLA and the CEO of IGNTD, an online company that produces podcasts and educational alcohol abstinence vs moderation programs on mental health and addiction. Instead of drinking alcohol, plan out the non-alcoholic beverages you can order or make instead. Enjoyable, non-alcoholic alternatives include soda and fresh lime juice, virgin mojitos, soda with fresh fruit, kombucha, or mocktails. The Sinclair method is an approach that involves taking either Revia or Vivitrol before people drink.

  • Generally speaking, drinking in moderation means that you have some alcohol at times, but you never drink too much or too frequently.
  • The likelihood of successful moderation does depend on the severity of the alcohol use disorder, with evidence suggesting that those who have a mild to moderate use disorder have the best chances of cutting down.
  • Alcohol moderation management programmes are often successful when tailored to an individual’s specific needs and circumstances.
  • Drinking alcohol in excess can negatively impact your health, including almost every part of your body.

Alcohol Moderation Management Steps and Process

alcohol abstinence vs moderation

Moderation can open a window for you to defuse the emotional challenges that create the craving for relief that alcohol provides. While you are taking a break from drinking or limiting your drinking, you have an opportunity to develop better coping skills, address your drinking behaviors, and find healthier ways of dealing with the issues that drinking is covering up. If you’re thinking about changing your relationship with alcohol, one of the first decisions you will make is whether you want to cut back or quit altogether. The number of drinks consumed per day alone is not a sufficient criterion to use when trying to diagnose someone with an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Alcoholism is a complex issue characterised by a range of behavioural, physical, and psychological factors.

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For example, alcohol use had a significant link to cancer in people over 50, especially women. Twenty-seven percent of cancer deaths in women and 19% of those in men were linked to their drinking habits. While research shows long-term benefits to abstinence, this approach can leave out those who want to change their drinking habits but are not ready to abstain completely. Many treatment facilities require that their “clients” remain substance-free, which may deter those wanting to adapt their relationship with alcohol. These answers will vary from individual to individual, and your choice of moderation vs. abstinence is a personal one. Our program offers expert medical support, recovery coaching, and a variety of tools and resources—all delivered 100 percent virtually.

alcohol abstinence vs moderation

Moderation gives you control of your drinking and allows you to take back control of your life. The Bluffs is a private alcohol, substance abuse and mental health treatment facility located in central Ohio. You may consider harm-reduction strategies when you are interested in cutting back your drinking without stopping completely. This approach focuses on reducing use to low levels and drinking in a way that is safe and reduces the likelihood of harm. Alcohol had taken its toll—her job, friends, family, and health had all suffered—and she wanted it out of her life. Her counselor agreed that abstinence was a good solution and they took steps to help Reagan achieve this goal.

Which Is Better: Alcohol Moderation or Abstinence?

While it is legal for adults, it can still be dangerous, and many people do become dependent on this substance. Programs like our alcohol use treatment in Ohio that help people quit drinking altogether can be helpful, but there are plenty of different theories on the subject. As you drink more, your tolerance increases, so it takes more drinks to feel intoxicated. By abstaining for a period of time, you can reset your tolerance, which may make it easier to drink in moderation. Heavier use results in the increased risk of harm from injuries like falls. Additionally, drinking more will reduce any of the social or cognitive benefits that may come from moderate use.

Alcohol Moderation or Abstinence – What is right for you?