A survey of 138,100 adults in the United States found that nine out of 10 people who drink too much are not alcoholics, and could imbibe less with some prodding.
Excessive drinking for men is having five or more drinks on one occasion or 15 drinks or more in a week; for women, it's four drinks in one sitting or eight drinks or more in a week. Although roughly 29 percent of the population does drink excessively, 90 percent do not fit the definition of an alcoholic.
"Many people tend to equate excessive drinking with alcohol dependence," Dr. Robert Brewer of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told The New York Times. "We need to think about other strategies to address these people who are drinking too much but who are not addicted to alcohol."
Increasing the price of alcohol is one way to get people to stop drinking; studies show that upping the cost by 10 percent reduces consumption by 7 percent. Zoning laws can reduce the number of establishments that serve alcohol in specific areas, and sometimes, a doctor talking with a patient about drinking too much is enough to get them to realize they need to slow down.