Controlled drinking-non-abstinent versus abstinent treatment goals in alcohol use disorder: a systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression

If you view yourself as someone who would like to cut back on how many drinks you have a week, then moderation may be best suited for you. However, if you find yourself struggling with regulating how much alcohol you drink in a day or week, an abstinence-based approach may be necessary for changing your drinking habits. Among all abstainers, 90.60% were former alcohol consumers. For the alcohol abstinence vs moderation study participants who had claimed to never having drunk alcohol in their life before, no increased HRs compared to low to moderate alcohol consumers were found after adjustment for age and sex. These study participants were just 1% of the baseline sample what also corresponds to evidence shown before . These findings speak against health protective effects of alcohol consumption.

Maybe I should remind myself how bad milk is for me.” I’m not doing any of that because I just don’t have any desire for it so it’s just so clean and simple. Can you imagine a life of restraining yourself from alcohol?

Spend time self-reflecting

Studies that recognize the potential benefits of moderation programs also see its risks. People who went through non-abstinence programs reported a lower quality of life compared to people who went through abstinence programs, according to one study. There are many studies that link moderate drinking to health benefits, such as improved digestion and reduced risk of gallstones. As a depressant, alcohol can also improve your social life and mood in moderation. Individuals with severe AUD often find that in the long term, sobriety is the most achievable goal for them. Keeping alcohol in your life in a healthy way can be really challenging, especially for people who have exhibited more severe drinking habits and patterns. This includes those managing liver disease, bipolar disorder, abnormal heart rhythms, or chronic pain.

When people aiming for abstinence make a mistake, they may feel like quitting is impossible and give up entirely. You can have an occasional drink without feeling defeated and sliding deeper into a relapse. It’s easier to maintain your motivation and stay on the right track. Ria Health offers several FDA-approved medications for alcohol use disorder.

Abstinence Is Not the Only Option

Because once you start to do that, you start to see how your thinking is creating all this desire to drink and desire for more, and leading to deprivation and leading to judgment. And when you see that, all of a sudden, you have your path forward for how you can start to change those thoughts. But once I started to bring it to the surface, that’s when I really started to understand, oh okay, so this is what’s really creating my desire.

Symptoms of withdrawal can include anxiety, confusion, heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, shaking and tremors, and insomnia. These symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening, so it is imperative to understand your relationship with alcohol to avoid withdrawal. Are recovering from an alcohol use disorder or are unable to control the amount they drink. Non-abstinence programs may be more effective in younger adults.

Total Alcohol Abstinence vs. Moderation: Which One Wins in the End?

It may even be encouraged that they update their rules as they progress, as this further promotes the process of self-awareness and reflection. “Dry” January started out as a public health campaign geared towards promoting physical health, saving money, and raising awareness of alcohol use disorders. It is also recommended that this is done under medical supervision, as individuals who have become physically dependent on alcohol may experience intense withdrawal symptoms. In order to become better aware of their habits, triggers, and drinking patterns, individuals will be encouraged to start keeping a personal diary. This approach focuses on strengthening the “sober self” and weakening the “addicted self,” through supporting the individual in being their own leader in recovery from alcoholism. What you order to drink, what you fill your glass with is totally separate. It’s a completely separate decision from whether or not you desire alcohol.

Is a bottle of wine a day too much?

Drinking a bottle of wine per day is not considered healthy by most standards. However, when does it morph from a regular, innocent occurrence into alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcoholism? First, it's important to note that building tolerance in order to drink an entire bottle of wine is a definitive red flag.

While it can seem daunting to practice abstinence, limit your alcohol use, or seek treatment, you can find comfort in the fact that there is no definitive “correct” way to get where you want to be. The best course of action is the one that will work the best for you. Health experts have historically recommended abstinence for people struggling with chronic alcohol problems. A sober lifestyle is something to be proud of, and the team at Monument is here to provide answers and encouragement throughout your journey.

Psychology Today: Moderated Drinking: A Creative Strategy To Treat Alcoholism

Because it’s kind of wild when you let your brain go there. I don’t call that abstaining, and again, it’s not semantics.

Making this moderation management choice must be yours to make. The majority of these programs utilize internet-based services, providing online support to individuals while ultimately encouraging them to take control of their own lives and choices. However, many do offer the option of in-person meetings. Although non 12-step rehabs often employ AA alternatives, typically moderation management is not among the offerings for clients, since the focus is on maintaining complete abstinence for those in detox and early recovery. A little over 80 years ago, Alcoholics Anonymous was formed. Bill Wilson, who was a chronic alcohol abuser and disgraced stockbroker, had been hospitalized yet again for his alcohol problem. He had undergone countless treatments and attempts to quit drinking and had been unsuccessful for years.

Please be aware that this might heavily reduce the functionality and appearance of our site. I’m now much more aware of why, when, and how much I drink. Tuesday’s Book Chat covers one chapter from the book Responsible Drinking per week.


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