Limited data exist on the rates and long-term stability of non-problem drinking in individuals who sought help for an alcohol use disorder. Adi Jaffe, Ph.D., is a lecturer at UCLA and the CEO of IGNTD, an online company that produces podcasts and educational programs on mental health and addiction. It is very important to note that this study specifically excluded people who had previously been admitted to alcohol or drug treatment as well as those who had symptoms of severe alcohol withdrawal at any point in their life . This means that the participants likely did not include some of the most severe alcoholic cases. Participants who used the Moderation Management website alone drank a little less in each of the followups and were able to raise their average percent abstinence from 16 percent to a little over 20 percent. They were also able to reduce their scores on instruments assessing problem associated with drinking alcohol and their overall drinking problem severity. Importantly, even on drinking days, these participants reduced their blood alcohol content levels by almost 50 percent.
- A month after we learned of his opiate use, he entered outpatient therapy and began working on abstinence with both drugs and alcohol.
- If the attempt doesn’t feel like dieting or exercise, it’s probably not an honest attempt.
- Soon after she divorced from her husband and struggled to find work in part due to her felony conviction.
- The book states that when a person drinks, they have a phenomenon of craving, which means an alcoholic cannot control the amount that they take.
- Whether you carry a physical card in your wallet or use your smartphone, try tracking your drinks to get a better handle on your consumption.
- When looking at the research, if you want to increase your odds of success, abstinence is the way to go.
Sometimes we are surprised to find the solution in a place we hadn’t even thought of looking. While your loved one is trying to moderate their use, you can decide what the bottom line is going to be.
Benefits And Wellness Health And Well
Individuals with non-problem drinking at 1 year did not differ significantly from the 1–year problem drinkers in terms of their rates of stable remission over the follow-up. Additionally, non-problem drinkers reported more self-efficacy at baseline than the problem drinking group. Non-problem drinkers reported less depression and less emotional discharge coping at baseline than individuals in the other two groups. Follow-up studies as long as 8 years showed that the people who were most successful in maintaining moderate problem-free drinking were those with less severe alcohol problems at the start.
From a harm reduction perspective (a modern alternative to the traditional AA-based abstinence-only perspective) any steps taken to reduce the risks and harms associated with alcohol and other substance use are steps taken in the right direction. , while about 5 percent of the U.S. population drinks heavily quite often, about 20 percent binge drink only once a month. And not all of that 20 percent of people binges frequently enough that they physically depend on alcohol. Standard alcohol effects of alcohol programs that strive for abstinence will not likely be a good fit for many of these individuals. The other important topic from this study was the ability for patients to select their own drinking goals. Studies have shown that abstinence is associated with greater quality of life (ie., overall health, relationships, employment) post-treatment for individuals recovering from alcohol use disorder. But moderation in recovery is not advised by many in the treatment community.
The book states that when a person drinks, they have a phenomenon of craving, which means an alcoholic cannot control the amount that they take. When someone is drinking in moderation, they are not drinking excessively. Sometimes an alcoholic can stop for a while, alcohol abstinence vs moderation but their emotions and disposition probably aren’t positive or helpful. Have you ever been around an alcoholic who has tried to stop drinking without any help? But once they are finished drinking, they will not obsess over getting more like an alcoholic.
We offer two types of treatment options for people who want help for drinking problems. One option is abstinence-based treatment for individuals who have decided to stop drinking completely and want to stay stopped over the long term. Their decision is often the result of failed attempts at controlled drinking and/or suffering severe alcohol-related consequences. As part of the evaluation process, we help clients understand where they are in terms of the nature and severity of their alcohol problem and their chances of succeeding at moderation. We explain the benefits of not drinking at all and routinely encourage all new clients to start with a period of abstinence, even if their ultimate goal is moderation. When given a chance to try moderation with professional support and guidance, clients either learn how to drink moderately or they learn that moderation is not realistic for them and that it might be better to stop drinking entirely. Clients who choose abstinence after being unable to moderate consistently are often more motivated and personally invested in making abstinence work for them.
Which Medications Are Best For Individuals That Want To Moderate Their Drinking?
I’ve done seven marathons and two of those were since I started with moderate drinking. When I’m training for a race, I don’t drink at all the last three weeks.
The most effective way to address alcohol abuse is to identify and intervene at an early stage. Individuals with substance abuse problems should have a choice regarding how they address their behavior. Soon after she divorced from her husband and struggled to find work in part due to her felony conviction.
The cases of Audrey Kishline and other MM members who have relapsed have been used by supporters of the medical model of addiction and abstinence-based recovery programs, such as AA, to discredit the MM program. If any program were to be deemed as ineffective or dangerous as a result of certain individuals in the program relapsing and causing harm to others, then no substance use disorder treatment program could be deemed effective or appropriate. Combine all of this with the knowledge that individuals are far more likely to enter and participate in a treatment of their choice.
Now I’d watched people do that in the restaurant where I worked and often wondered if I would ever be that person, but didn’t just jump and test it out. I guess my point here is that I never said I would never drink again for the rest of my life. I never said I would never touch drugs again for the rest of my life. The traditional meeting path with the “I’m an _____________,” never really felt right.
These beliefs can help rationalize the negative experiences that might also occur. MM’s Dryuary and supportive community format has been key in managing my drinking. Individuals alcohol abstinence vs moderation participating in MM will continue to assess their drinking. If a relapse occurs, they may need to reevaluate drinking levels or even return to a 30-day abstinent period.
Moderation Management groups may meet in person or through an online forum, and meetings are held all around the country. MM also offers an online chat room and a public hub curated blogging site for its members. Illustration © Eleanor DavisSo, in working together, she and I decided she would set the line between one or two drinks, which she would consider as “non-use” , and more than two drinks, which she would consider as “use” . The strategy was for her to remain engaged and rewarding for as long as he didn’t go over the two drinks. She would then remove rewards, disengage and allow natural consequences if she saw or sensed that he had drank more than two drinks or was using stimulants. Here is an example of how the “bottom line” might be reestablished in your home.
Moderation As Motivation
Kishline had suffered from issues with alcohol abuse for several years. She had been able to continue to work and function relatively independently and had become involved in Alcoholics Anonymous as an effort to control her alcohol use and abuse. Kishline found the approach of AA and other 12-Step groups, as well as the notion of the disease model of alcoholism adopted by the medical community, inconsistent with her experiences. Kishline consulted with numerous professionals in the addiction treatment community regarding substance abuse issues to help her in developing the Moderation Management program. Moderation Management was founded by Audrey Kishline, a problem drinker, who did not identify with the disease theory of alcoholism finding that it eroded her self-confidence.
Binge drinking ― or having more than four drinks per occasion for women and five for men ― is now reported by 17% of the US adult population, including 1 in 10 of those 65 years of age or older. After years of what she described as out-of-control, near-daily drinking, Bonnie feared the moment when its toll on her health would become clear and irreparable. But if you look at the trajectory of an alcoholic’s life, it paints a different picture. The Big Book states that alcoholics have bodies that are wired differently.
Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, quitting smoking, and exercising can boost your ability to perform or become aroused. Get health information and advice from the experts at Harvard Medical School. But the research shows clearly that moderation is unlikely to be successful for patients who already meet criteria for dependence, whether defined by the DSM-IV or by a variety of assessment tools.
Research Supports Moderation
Similar studies of depression and eating disorder support groups have found the same patterns. The content on Rehabs.com is brought to you by American Addiction Centers , a nationwide network of leading substance abuse and behavioral treatment facilities. The cost of alcohol or drug addiction treatment may appear to be an obstacle, but we are here to help. But research has repeatedly shown us that only 10 percent of those struggling with drug and alcohol problems enter treatment (Cunningham et al., 1993; Jaffe et al., 2013). This level of penetration is to be compared with the fact that over 70 percent of individuals diagnosed with diabetes seek and receive treatment for the condition . That means that seven times as many diabetics seek treatment for their disease than do addicts.
Selecting a specific goal is an important part of any behavior change. One program known as Harm Reduction, Abstinence, and Moderation Support focuses more on the lifestyle-related causes of drug and alcohol abuse. It recognizes the frequency with which these behaviors are tied to social activities and aims to assist members in reaching self-set goals. Others might just want to scale things back, while some may be seeking ways to continue engaging in the substance abuse habits they choose while learning how to make those practices safer and less likely to cause harmful side effects.
Not Everyone Has The Same Type Of Drinking Problem
The data reflects 56.1 percent of individuals who had begun to engage in alcohol abuse 20 or more years prior and sought treatment at some point were abstinent, compared to 24.5 percent who were never treated being abstinent. Research into moderate or “controlled” drinking has shown that this strategy can be successful for patients who have not yet developed a pervasive pattern of alcohol abuse, or who have experienced few negative consequences from drinking.
However, please know that it is not necessarily advisable to include your loved one in this decision or discussion about the new “bottom line.” It can be more of an internal decision that you, the family member make. If your loved one believes they can moderate, there are two good reasons for you to go along with this. alcohol abstinence vs moderation Many families of addicted loved ones find themselves wishing for their loved one to swing from one extreme clear over to the other. Their dearest wish becomes that their loved one never touch another drop, take another hit, etc. In fact they may have come to believe that 100% abstinence is the only acceptable solution.
Author: Alyssa Peckham