What Does ‘Moderate’ Drinking Really Mean?

‘Moderate’ Drinking vs. Binge Drinking

'Moderate' Drinking

‘Moderate’ Drinking. Photo courtesy of stopalcoholdeaths(CC Attribution)

This short Washington Post article by JLH reports on the Mayo Clinic’s definition of moderate drinking: “no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women. Drinking seven drinks in one day and abstaining for the rest of the week doesn’t count.” 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor each constitute one drink. This information is relevant to all who seek a benchmark for healthy drinking behavior, especially college students in heavy drinking environments and those who suspect that they or someone close to them may have a drinking problem. 

Many students are able to justify their drinking habits by telling themselves, “I don’t drink every day, so I can’t have a problem.” The definion of ‘moderate’ drinking on a college campus, especially at large universities and “party” schools, is much different from what this article reports.  It’s tough for students to have a “benchmark for healthy drinking behavior” when almost all of their friends are drinking to excess on the weekends and even some weeknights. Some students find that they can’t handle the binge-drinking culture on campus, or find that they can’t drink successfully while maintaining their academic goals as well. Many students don’t know that there is a way out, that they can have an enjoyable college experience, both academically and socially, while staying sober. We help students to return to campus, reintegrate themselves into their university community and thrive in recovery.

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