*Please pick how many times AND how many beers a week you drink in the poll.*
Recently, some of my fellow HBT members suggested I may have a drinking problem. It is entirely possible, but I was reading about how much others drink. I would assume that most of the people here drink more than the average person drinks, given that we brew beer in one capacity or another.
Here is a Gallup poll that I am going to show some things from:
According to the aggregated data, 63% of Americans report that they drink alcoholic beverages such as liquor, wine, or beer, while 37% totally abstain. Men are more likely than women to drink (69% vs. 58%), and adults under 50 are substantially more likely than adults over 50 to drink (70% of adults aged 18 to 49 drink alcoholic beverages, as do only 54% of those over 50).
Occasional drinking does not necessarily indicate a drinking problem, but even small amounts of alcohol can cause slurred speech, slowed reaction times, or impaired judgment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines "excessive drinking" as an average of more than one drink per day for women, and an average of more than two drinks per day for men.
So how much do American drinkers drink? According to the Gallup data, the mean number of drinks that male drinkers consume in a week is 6.6 (about one per day), compared with 2.9 for female drinkers (less than half a drink per day). Seven percent of female drinkers report having eight or more drinks in the past seven days -- the CDC standard for "excessive drinking" among women. Twenty-one percent of male drinkers report consuming 10 or more drinks in the last seven days, including 9% who said they drank 20 or more -- well over the "excessive drinking" limit for men.
Self-Assessments of Excessive Drinking
Objective measures of how many drinks one has in a week can only go so far in defining problems with alcohol. Regardless of how much a person drinks, alcohol consumption is a problem if it negatively affects the way the person thinks, feels, or interacts with others.
Gallup asked the respondents themselves if they ever drink more alcohol than they should. Nearly a quarter (23%) of drinkers said they sometimes drink more than they should. Again, men outnumber women in this response, and younger drinkers are far more likely than older drinkers to say they drink too much.
*Results are based on telephone interviews with 3,016 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted in July 2002, July 2003, and July 2004.