New Web Site Aims To Reduce Alcohol Problems

    March 10, 2009

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has launched a new Web site aimed at educating people about their risk of alcohol problems.

The site, Rethinking Drinking, offers evidence-based information about risky drinking patterns, the alcohol content of drinks, and the signs of an alcohol problem, along with information about medications and other resources to help people who chose to cut back or quit drinking.

Rethinking Drinking offers features such as drink calorie calculator, information on how many drinks are in a bottle of wine and strategies for cutting down or quitting.

Rethinking Drinking Website

"About 3 in 10 U.S. adults drink at levels that elevate their risk for alcoholism, liver disease, and a diverse array of other physical, mental health, and social problems. Yet, many people give little thought to their drinking habits and the attendant risks," said NIH Acting Director Raynard S. Kington, M.D.

"These new materials remind all of us to think about how alcohol may be affecting our health."

Based on results of a NIAA survey of 43,000 U.S. adults, Rethinking Drinking offers single-day and weekly low-risk limits for men and women. For men the limits are no more than four drinks on any single day and 14 drinks per week.

For women the limits are no more than three drinks on any day and seven per week. For people who exceed these limits, about 1 in 4 already has alcoholism or alcohol abuse, and the rest are at increased risk for these and other problems.

"We know that many heavy drinkers are able to change on their own," said Mark Willenbring, M.D., director of NIAAA’s Division of Treatment and Recovery Research. "Rethinking Drinking is a convenient, low-cost way to provide the required information and tools for those able to change before they develop symptoms."

"People who have more severe alcohol involvement will require professional help, and starting with Rethinking Drinking may help them make the decision to seek help at an earlier stage in the disease process. We think Rethinking Drinking will be used in many different settings, such as doctor’s offices, colleges, workplaces, the criminal justice system and pastoral counseling."