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HHS HealthBeat (March 11, 2014)

Drinking problems

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A person does not have to be an alcoholic to have problems with alcohol. In fact, most people who drink too much are not alcohol dependent or alcoholics. But drinking too much, which includes binge drinking, can cause lots of problems. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researcher Lela McKnight-Eily says 1 in 3 adults drinks too much:

“Only 4 percent of the U.S. population are considered alcoholics or dependent on alcohol. For every 1 alcoholic, there are about 6 people who drink too much who are not alcoholics.”

The CDC says alcohol is responsible for about 88,000 deaths a year. McKnight-Eily says people who suspect they’re drinking too much should talk with a health professional, but most don’t.

Her article is in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Learn more at

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: March 11, 2014