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The question of how to stop drinking alcohol is one that many people consider.

We all know: Drinking alcohol is a regular part of many social gatherings. It’s hard to avoid — parties, dinners, even just hanging out with friends. For those who want to know how to stop drinking, what can they do?

The reasons to stop drinking are abundant. The U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse states:

  • “According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 86.4 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime; 70.1 percent reported that they drank in the past year; 56.0 percent reported that they drank in the past month.”
  • “In 2015, 26.9 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month; 7.0 percent reported that they engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month.”

How to Stop Drinking: Alcohol Use Disorder

Even more extraordinary are the NIH number on Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD):

  • 15.1 million adults ages 18 and older3 (6.2 percent of this age group4) had AUD. This includes 9.8 million men3 (8.4 percent of men in this age group) and 5.3 million women3 (4.2 percent of women in this age group)
  • About 6.7 percent of adults who had AUD in the past year received treatment. This includes 7.4 percent of males and 5.4 percent of females with AUD in this age group
  • An estimated 88,0008 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women8) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States

MedPage Today reports that “Binge drinking and heavy alcohol use are linked with car crashes, burns, falls, alcohol poisoning, violence, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, chronic diseases, cancers, memory and learning problems, and alcohol dependence.”

One major challenge for individuals who struggle to understand how to stop drinking: A lack of understanding from others. People who don’t face this challenge may think: If you want to stop drinking, just stop. We know: It’s not that simple.

WebMD describes; “Alcohol use disorder is what doctors call it when you can’t control how much you drink and have trouble with your emotions when you’re not drinking. Some people may think the only way to deal with it is with willpower, as if it’s a problem they have to work through all on their own.”

“But alcohol use disorder is actually considered a brain disease. Alcohol causes changes in your brain that make it hard to quit. Trying to tough it out on your own can be like trying to cure appendicitis with cheerful thoughts. It’s not enough.”

For more information, please see the FAQs on How to Stop Drinking. Among the questions covered:

  • How does alcohol work?
  • What effect does drinking alcohol have?
  • How can you tell if someone has a problem and needs to stop drinking alcohol?
  • If an alcoholic is unwilling to get help, what can you do about it?
  • Is alcoholism inherited?
  • Can someone can’t quit drinking alcohol, can they be treated?
  • Does alcoholism treatment work?
  • Are specific groups of people more likely to have problems?