Tuesday, March 10, 2009


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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 9, 2009

NIAAA Press Office
NIAAAPressOffice at mail.nih.gov


A new Web site and booklet from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse
and Alcoholism (NIAAA) could help many people reduce their risk for
alcohol problems. Called Rethinking Drinking, the new materials present
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
choose to cut back or quit drinking. The Web site --
RethinkingDrinking.niaaa.nih.gov -- also features interactive tools, such
as calculators for measuring alcohol calories and drink sizes. NIAAA is
part of the National Institutes of Health.

"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," notes 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 NIAAA survey of 43,000 U.S. adults, Rethinking
Drinking presents single-day and weekly low-risk limits for men and women.
For men, these limits are no more than four drinks on any single day and
14 drinks per week, and for women, no more than three drinks on any day
and seven per week. Among 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.

"People can still have trouble drinking within these limits, especially if
they drink too quickly, have certain medical conditions, or are older,"
says NIAAA Acting Director Kenneth Warren, Ph.D. Dr. Warren adds that
Rethinking Drinking presents information previously released in the NIAAA
Clinician's Guide in a comprehensive, user-friendly way for the general
public, so that anyone who chooses to drink alcohol can evaluate their
individual risk.

"We know that many heavy drinkers are able to change on their own,"
explains 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."

Copies of the Rethinking Drinking booklet can be downloaded from the
Rethinking Drinking Web site


or ordered from NIAAA by phone at: 301-443-3860

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the
National Institutes of Health, is the primary U.S. agency for conducting
and supporting research on the causes, consequences, prevention, and
treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol problems. NIAAA also
disseminates research findings to general, professional, and academic
audiences. Additional alcohol research information and publications are
available at www.niaaa.nih.gov


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- The Nation's Medical Research
Agency -- includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal
agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational
medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures
for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its
programs, visit


This NIH News Release is available online at:

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