Person asking their doctor, "Can an alcoholic drink in moderation?"

Can an Alcoholic Drink in Moderation?

Once a person develops an alcohol use disorder (AUD), the question may arise whether they can ever drink again. Many people shy away from alcohol rehab because they worry about the prospect of giving up alcohol for good. But can an alcoholic drink in moderation, or is abstinence the only option?   

If you have a drinking problem but are afraid to quit or reduce your consumption for fear of withdrawal symptoms, contact Promises Brazos Valley at 979.426.0086. Our alcohol rehab utilizes medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to help you feel more comfortable as your body detoxes from alcohol.  

What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?  

Not everyone who drinks excessively has AUD. Here is an overview of the criteria for different drinking problems:  

  • Binge drinking – This involves four or more drinks on an occasion for women and five or more for men. An occasion is specified as a two- to three-hour period.  
  • Heavy drinking – This consists of eight or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more for men.  
  • Alcohol use disorder – No specific number of drinks indicates a person has alcohol use disorder. The diagnosis lies more in a person’s inability to moderate their consumption despite their efforts. If someone struggles with AUD, they will experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit or reduce their drinking.  

People who binge drink or drink heavily do not necessarily have an addiction. Still, if this drinking behavior continues long-term, they may be at a higher risk of developing an alcohol use disorder.   

Can an Alcoholic Drink in Moderation?  

If you engage in excessive drinking but have not developed alcohol dependence, it will be easier to moderate your drinking. But once you are addicted to alcohol, moderation can be much more challenging.    

The desire for someone struggling with AUD to try moderate drinking may stem from a desire to avoid going into alcohol rehab. The person may also hope they will not have to cut alcohol out of their life completely. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that any individual with an alcohol addiction will be able to get their drinking under control. For some people, abstinence is the only sustainable choice.   

Below are a few obstacles people struggling with AUD may encounter when attempting to moderate their drinking. 

Being Unable to Stop After One or Two Drinks  

If you are addicted to alcohol, you will have a strong drive to keep drinking once you start. This makes having just one or two drinks difficult, even if that is your intention.  

Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms  

When your body is dependent on alcohol, decreasing your consumption can lead to withdrawal symptoms. If you are used to drinking heavily, trying to cut back to the recommended one or two drinks daily may be a drastic reduction, resulting in severe withdrawal discomfort.  

Inconsistent Tracking  

Inconsistency in tracking the amount of alcohol in a serving can consume more than intended, which will be counterproductive.  

How to Moderate Your Drinking  

If you drink excessively but do not have a moderate to severe alcohol addiction, you may be able to moderate your drinking by following these tips:  

  • Make your drinks or drink only pre-packaged beverages like bottled beer or canned hard seltzers.  
  • Stick to drinks with a lower alcohol content.  
  • Use an app to track your drinking.  
  • Let those who trust know about your efforts to moderate your drinking and ask for their support.  
  • When socializing, choose activities with something else to do besides drinking.  
  • Ask your healthcare provider about naltrexone, a medication that reduces the pleasurable effects of alcohol to reduce your desire to drink.  

When you are in control of making your drinks, you know how much alcohol is going into them. And by garnering the support of others for your efforts, you are more likely to succeed in reducing your drinking.  

Quit Drinking with Alcohol Rehab at Promises Brazos Valley  

If you are struggling with a moderate to severe alcohol addiction and need help to quit, you can count on Promises Brazos Valley. Our alcohol rehab programs provide a personalized treatment plan consisting of behavioral and holistic therapies and medication-assisted treatment. Contact us at 979.426.0086 to get started. 

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