New Website Offers Tools to Assess and Address Drinking Risks

    The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has created a new website called “Rethinking Drinking,” designed to help users define their drinking patterns and develop strategies and options for dealing with alcohol-related problems, the Wall Street Journal reported March 10.

    “Most people don’t know what ’drink responsibly’ means — they think it means not getting tanked,” says Mark Willenbring, director of treatment and recovery research at NIAAA. The new website is part of a broader effort to increase understanding of the array of alcohol-related disorders and redefine the way terms like “abuse” and “dependence” are used.

    The website utilizes an interactive form that allows users to enter daily and weekly drinking amounts to determine how their consumption compares with national averages. The site has a drink-size chart and a content calculator to aid in determining what comprises a “standard” drink.

    The NIAAA considers the consumption of no more than four standard-size alcoholic drinks a day for a man or no more than three for a woman as placing individuals at low risk for serious alcohol problems. The weekly “low-risk” limit is no more than 14 drinks for a man or seven for a woman.

    More daily or weekly consumption creates a higher risk of abuse or dependence. Very few Americans exceed the weekly limits without exceeding the daily limitations, Willenbring said.

    “Rethinking Drinking” presents options and strategies to the user — from “space and pace” (no more than one drink per hour) strategies to “avoiding triggers” (understanding the external situations that may provoke drinking). The site uses an “urge tracker” to monitor events surrounding the urge to drink, along with a section on “refusal skills” for coping with social situations.

    The site also features a downloadable print version that Willenbring said will serve as a resource for those who counsel people concerned about their drinking habits. 

    By Partnership Staff
    March 2009


    March 2009

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