Q&A

If you have questions related to any content on this website, please feel free to send them to me via email (bliese@kumc.edu). I'm happy to post your question and answer it to the best of my ability!

Q: Where can I find reliable information about addictions on the Internet?
A: For the most reliable, current information I recommend that you begin with agencies associated with the National Institutes of Health. Here are some good places to start:

Q: What is SMART Recovery and where can I get more information?
A: SMART (Self-Management and Recovery Training) is a science-based approach to mutual help for addictions (including to substances and behaviors). The term mutual help reflects the fact that sessions occur in groups run by a trained facilitator, with group members helping each other. Like other mutual help groups (e.g., AA), there is no charge for attending groups and they can be found all over the United States and even in some foreign countries. Here is their web address: www.smartrecovery.org.

Q: Can behaviors really be addictive?
A: The process of validating an addictive behavior is lengthy and rigorous. Gambling is the behavior that has gone through this most intensive process and Gambling Disorder has been identified as the only "official" behavioral addiction in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Additionally, Gaming Disorder has been added to the short list of behavioral addictions by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), and it is under consideration for inclusion in DSM-5. Click on this link for a good article on this topic.

Q: What does it mean to be a low-risk drinker?
A: In order to understand low-risk drinking we need to first define a "standard drink." I've copied and pasted a chart below that illustrates standard drink sizes for beer, wine, and spirits. As you can see, 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces of spirits are all standard drinks.

It's also important to understand that the composition of women's bodies is different from the composition of men's bodies. In order to maintain low-risk limits, women should not drink more than three standard drinks on any day, and less than seven drinks per week. Men can stay withing the low-risk limit by drinking no more than four standard drinks per day, and less than 14 drinks per week.

Some people are surprised to learn that more than five standard drinks for men, and more than four standard drinks for women (within a two-hour period) is considered binge drinking. And it's important to remember that drinks mixed a bars, taverns, and restaurants may contain much more than 1.5 ounces of spirits (vodka, gin, whisky, tequila, etc.)!

This information is discussed in detail in an excellent guide, Rethinking Drinking, published by the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). In fact, the chart below is copied from this guide. You can get a copy of Rethinking Drinking by clicking here.

standard-drink-sizes