If you’ve been drinking at levels that are considered high risk or heavily drunk, you should consider changing your drinking habits or stopping altogether. But which one is the best choice for you? Should you try to moderate your alcohol consumption or should you try to quit?
Many people learn to moderate their drinking and manage to return to a pattern of low-risk drinking. Just as there are support groups for those who try to stop drinking, there are support groups for those who try to reduce or moderate their drinking.
If you’re trying to cut back but find that you can’t stay within the limits you set, it might be best to quit instead. One of the main reasons people choose to stop drinking and seek help is because they are no longer able to control the amount they drink...
You are the person in the best position to make the decision whether to cut or quit. If you can consistently drink a drink or two and no more, you may be able to cut back on a low-risk drinking pattern. However, if you find that those first two drinks usually make you want more, and you rarely drink just two, moderation is likely not an option.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), quitting drinking may be a better option for you than moderating or cutting back.
If you quit, this may be your best option:..
- If you have been diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder or you currently have symptoms of alcohol abuse or dependence.
- If you have certain medical conditions such as cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis C, chronic pain, certain heart conditions or mental disorders such as bipolar disorder.
- If you are taking certain medications that may adversely affect alcohol.
- If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
Other reasons to quit
If you are planning to change your alcohol consumption, it is best to discuss the decision with your doctor. Your doctor may recommend that you stop drinking due to other factors, including:..
- A family history of alcoholism
- Your age
- If you have had alcohol-related injuries
- Alcohol-related sleep disorders or sexual dysfunction
Tips for moderating your drinking
Make a few small adjustments to the way you drink. It can work for you. If it doesn’t, adjust it and try something different. You may be able to drink under your control again.
Tips for moderating alcohol consumption:
- Eat food with your drink. Do not drink on an empty stomach. Eating helps your body absorb alcohol more slowly.
- Keep track of how much you drink. Make a note in an app or write it on a piece of paper.
- Measure your drinks at home. Drink standard sizes. Ask the bartenders not to refill your drink. Oversized drinks not.
- Set goals and decide how many days a week to drink and how many drinks you will have on those days. Stick to your goals. If you stumble backwards, start over the next day.
- Place your drinks. Set a pace for your drinking that is no more than one an hour. Sip slowly. Have everyone else drink a glass of water or soda.
Help may be needed
Regardless of your decision to cut down or stop drinking, support is available to help you achieve your goals. If you want to stop you may want to seek help. You don’t have to do it alone.