12 Expert Tips To Decrease Alcohol Consumption

To Decrease Alcohol Consumption

If you are like many people, you may enjoy an occasional drink. But what if your drinking habits have gone from occasional to excessive?

Are you considering quitting or at least to decrease alcohol consumption? You are not alone. Many people are making the same decision for a variety of reasons.

Excessive alcohol consumption is a huge global problem, and it can be tough to break free from its grip. This blog post will explore some of the reasons why it’s so hard to quit drinking, as well as some tips for overcoming those struggles.

Did you know that alcohol consumption is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the United States? Notably the first leading cause of preventable death is tobacco and the second is unhealthy diet and physical inactivity.

It is estimated that in excess of 10% of children in the United States live with a parent who has alcohol problems.

NIH, 2020

Alcohol use disorder is a serious problem, and it’s time to do something about it. If you are ready to make a change, keep reading.

What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

Alcohol Use Disorder is a pattern of problem drinking that results in health consequences, social problems, or both.

Alcohol Use Disorder is chronic and relapsing and is characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.

In fact, people with alcohol use disorder continue to drink despite the negative consequences. They may try to quit or cut back on their drinking, but find it difficult to do so.

Avoid using the terms ‘alcoholics’ or ‘alcoholism’

When discussing alcohol use, it is important to avoid using stigmatizing language. The terms ‘alcoholic’ and ‘alcoholism’ are often used in a negative way, and can make it difficult for someone to seek help.

Instead, use terms such as ‘unhealthy alcohol use’ or ‘alcohol use disorder.’ By avoiding labels, you can help to create a more open and understanding environment.

If someone is struggling with their alcohol use, they may already feel ashamed or embarrassed. Labeling them can only make the situation worse. Instead, try to focus on the person’s individual needs and how you can best support them.

How much is too much alcohol?

“Too much alcohol” really depends on many factors, including your weight, your gender, your health, and whether you’re taking any medications.

Generally speaking, men can drink more than women before it becomes risky. If you have liver disease, for example, even a small amount of alcohol could be harmful. If you’re taking medications, alcohol can interact with them and cause potentially dangerous side effects.

So, how much is too much? Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

However, there are some people who should avoid drinking any alcohol, including pregnant women, people with certain medical conditions, and recovering alcoholics. It’s different for everyone.

If you’re unsure, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid drinking altogether.

More recent studies have shown that as little as 6 drinks weekly will negatively affect your health.

Dubois & Roumeliotis, 2022

What are the symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder?

There are 11 symptoms of Alcohol use disorder. A person must have at least 2 of these symptoms in a 12-month period to be diagnosed with Alcohol Use Disorder.

Severity is based on the number of symptoms present.

Mild: 2-3 symptoms

Moderate: 4-5 symptoms

Severe: 6 or more symptoms

The symptoms are:

1. Drinking more or longer than intended

2. Unable to cut down or stop drinking

3. Spending a lot of time drinking or recovering from the effects of drinking

4. Craving alcohol

5. Failing to fulfill major obligations at work, school, or home due to drinking

6. Drinking in situations that are physically dangerous, such as while driving

7. Continuing to drink despite social or relationship problems caused by drinking

8. Giving up important activities in order to drink

9. Drinking more alcohol or for a longer time than intended to achieve the desired effect

10. Tolerance, or the need to drink more to feel the same effects

11. Withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, tremors, or nausea, when not drinking

What are the causes of Alcohol Use Disorder?

There is no single cause for Alcohol Use Disorder. It is a complex disease that involves multiple factors. These factors include:

1. Biological factors

Family history and genetics play a role in the development of Alcohol Use Disorder. People who have a parent or other close relative with Alcohol Use Disorder are more likely to develop the disorder themselves.

2. Psychological factors

Mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, are associated with an increased risk of Alcohol Use Disorder

3. Environmental factors

Exposure to trauma or stress can contribute to the development of Alcohol Use Disorder. This may include exposure to violence, neglect, or other traumas.

4. Social factors

Peer pressure, social isolation, and a lack of social support can all contribute to the development of Alcohol Use Disorder.

12 Expert Tips To Decrease Alcohol Consumption
“Alcohol is a family disease. One person may use, but the whole family suffers.” – Unknown

What are the consequences of Alcohol Use Disorder?

Alcohol Use Disorder can lead to a number of serious problems. These include:

1. Health Issues

Alcohol Use Disorder increases the risk of developing a number of health problems, including liver disease, cancer, and heart disease.

2. Social Issues

Alcohol Use Disorder can lead to relationship problems, job loss, and financial difficulties.

3. Psychological Issues

Alcohol Use Disorder can cause or worsen mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

4. Legal Issues

People with Alcohol Use Disorder are more likely to be arrested for DUI and other alcohol-related offenses.

Tips for quitting or decreasing alcohol consumption

If you’re looking to decrease your alcohol consumption, here are a few strategies to make the process easier.

1. Understand Your relationship with alcohol

Explore the reasons for drinking. Is it for socialization, relaxation, or to escape reality or to have more fun etc.? Do you drink to cope with stress or anxiety?

The first step to quitting or reducing your alcohol consumption is to take a step back and understand your relationship with alcohol.

Once you understand your reasons for drinking, you can begin to develop a plan to change your behavior.

2. Understand your drinking habits

Before you can change your drinking habits, it’s important to understand what they are.

So, keep a journal for a week or two and track how much you drink, when you drink, and what type of alcohol you drink.

This will help you to identify patterns and triggers that you can then work on changing.

3. Set realistic goals to decrease alcohol intake

If you’ve decided that you want to quit drinking or reduce your alcohol consumption, it’s important to set realistic goals.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider setting a goal of reducing your consumption by 50%.

Once you’ve reached that goal, you can re-evaluate and decide if you want to continue working towards quitting altogether.

4. Make a plan to decrease alcohol intake

Quitting or reducing your alcohol consumption will likely require some lifestyle changes.

Make a plan for how you will manage triggers and cravings, such as avoiding places where you typically drink or keeping non-alcoholic beverages on hand.

It may also be helpful to enlist the support of family and friends who can help you stay on track.

5. Set drinking limits for yourself

One of the best ways to cut back on your alcohol consumption is to set limits for yourself. Decide how much you are going to drink in a week, and then stick to that limit.

You may also want to set limits on how much you will drink in one sitting. For example, you may decide that you will only have one drink per night.

There are a number of apps and websites that can help you track your drinking, or you can simply keep a journal.

6. Avoid high-risk situations to quit Alcohol Use Disorder

If there are certain situations that trigger your drinking, it is best to avoid them if possible.

For example, if you tend to drink more when you are out with friends, try staying in more often.

If going to bars is a trigger for heavy drinking, find other activities that you enjoy that don’t involve alcohol.

7. Find alternatives to drinking alcohol

When you are trying to cut back on your alcohol consumption, it is important to find alternative activities that you enjoy.

If drinking was your primary way of relaxing or socializing, find other healthy, enjoyable activities that can serve those purposes.

Some ideas include exercise, reading, spending time with friends or family, or hobbies such as gardening or cooking.

The chains of alcohol are too light to be felt until they are too strong to be broken."  - Unknown
“The chains of alcohol are too light to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” – Unknown

8. Be prepared for setbacks

Quitting or reducing alcohol consumption is a process that takes time and effort. There will likely be setbacks along the way.

When this happens, you should not beat yourself up but instead view it as a learning opportunity.

What went wrong? What could you have done differently? Use this knowledge to help you succeed next time.

Read also: Unlocking Behavioral Change With The Theoretical Approach

9. Seek support from others

Quitting or reducing alcohol consumption can be difficult, especially if those around you are still drinking heavily. If you’re struggling to quit or reduce your alcohol consumption on your own, seek professional help.

There are many resources available, such as counseling, hotlines, support groups, and medication-assisted treatment.

Consider seeking support from trusted friends or family members who are willing to help you reach your goals.

These resources can give you the tools you need to successfully make the change.

10. Be patient with yourself

Changing your relationship with alcohol takes time and effort, so be patient with yourself. If you have a slip-up, don’t view it as a failure – view it as a learning opportunity.

Use it as motivation to recommit to your goals and continue working towards making lasting change

11. Work on coping and managing your emotions

Another key strategy for decreasing alcohol consumption is by working on coping and managing your emotions. Many people drink in order to numb themselves from negative emotions, such as pain, sadness, or loneliness.

Unfortunately, alcohol misuse is only temporary relief.

Coping with your emotions in a healthy way may involve seeking professional help, but there are also a number of self-help resources available.

Read also: 5 Expert Steps To Master The Control Of Your Emotions

12. Keep healthy snacks to replace cravings

When you’re trying to cut back on your alcohol consumption, it’s important to have healthy snacks on hand to replace cravings.

This will help you avoid temptation and make it more likely that you’ll stick to your goals.

Some good options include fruits and vegetables, whole grain crackers, yogurt, or nuts.

Benefits of improving unhealthy behaviors

Quitting or at least decreasing alcohol consumption can have numerous positive effects on a your health.

For instance, it can lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of stroke. Additionally, it can help to prevent certain types of cancer, including liver cancer.

Quitting or decreasing alcohol consumption can also lead to weight loss, boosted energy levels, decreased stress levels, and improved mood.

In fact, studies have shown that people who consume alcohol in moderation tend to live longer and healthier lives than those who abstain from alcohol altogether. 

Alcohol also interferes with the absorption of nutrients, so quitting can help improve your overall health.

  • Decreased risk for heart disease.
  • Increased HDL ‘good’ cholesterol levels.
  • Reduced liver damage from excessive drinking.
  • Have more money for savings.
  • No more hangovers (or the consequences associated with them).
  • Feel better emotionally, mentally and physically.
  • Increased self-esteem.
  • Decreased risk of cancer.
  • Greater incentive to eat healthy and exercise regularly.
  • Improved sleep pattern.
  • Improved energy levels throughout the day.

Factors that influence the possibility of reducing alcohol intake

A strong desire coupled with the right support can make you successfully quit drinking and improve your health.

Unfortunately, some factors may cause the process of quitting or decreasing alcohol intake to be so much more challenging.

1. Your current relationship with alcohol

If you have a negative relationship with alcohol, you may be more likely to successfully decrease your consumption.

This could be due to a previous experience with alcohol, such as getting sick from drinking too much or feeling anxious after drinking.

If you have a positive relationship with alcohol, on the other hand, you may be less likely to want to decrease your consumption.

2. Your family history

Your family history can also play a role in your ability to decrease alcohol consumption.

If several persons in your family suffer from alcohol use disorder, you may be more likely to develop problems with alcohol yourself.

This is due to both genetic and environmental factors.

3. Your age

Age can also influence your ability to reduce your alcohol consumption. In fact, young adults are typically more likely to binge drink and less likely to successfully cut back on their drinking than older adults.

This is due to both brain development and peer pressure. However, no matter what your age, it is always possible to change your relationship with alcohol.

4. Your gender

Gender can also affect your ability to reduce your alcohol consumption. Men are typically more likely than women to drink excessively and to have problems with alcohol.

This is due in part to cultural factors, such as the societal expectation that men will drink more than women. However, over the years, consumption of alcohol in women has increased substantially. In fact, one study showed that female students in high school were more likely to binge drink when compared to male students.

26% of grade 12 students reported drinking alcohol during the last 30 days with 12 % reporting binge drinking in the past 2 weeks.

In fact, for persons under the age of 21, underage drinking is responsible for over 225,000 years of potential life lost, and costed the United States $24 billion in the year 2010.

CDC, 2022

5. Your job

Your job can also have an impact on your ability to reduce your alcohol consumption. In fact, if you have a high-stress job or one that requires long hours, you may be more likely to turn to drinking as a way of coping with stress.

On the other hand, if you have a job that is supportive of sobriety or that has flexible hours, you may find it easier to stay sober or cut back on your drinking.

6. Individual differences/tolerance to alcohol

There are a number of individual differences that can influence your ability to decrease alcohol consumption.

For example, some people may have a higher tolerance for alcohol than others, which can make it more difficult to reduce intake.

Additionally, some people may be more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol, which can make it harder to cut back.

Biological protective factors associated with alcohol use include an allele that is more common in Asians. This allele is associated with a lower risk for developing alcohol dependence. BTW, an allele is 1 of 2 (or more) DNA sequence that occurs in a gene locus.

Chartier et al, 2010

7. Your physical health

Your health can also influence your ability to decrease alcohol consumption. For instance, if you are in good health, you may may not see the need to cut back on your drinking.

However, if you have a health condition that is made worse by alcohol, such as liver disease or high blood pressure, you may need to abstain from drinking completely in order to stay healthy.

8. Mental Health

Mental health disorders can also increase your risk for drinking problems.

For example, people with anxiety or depression may self-medicate with alcohol in order to cope with their symptoms.

Additionally, people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may use alcohol as a way to numb their emotions.

8. Medications

Certain medications can interact with alcohol and make it more difficult for your body to metabolize it.

For example, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and some antibiotics can all increase the effects of alcohol.

It is important to speak with your doctor about any potential interactions between medications and alcohol before drinking.

10. Race/ethnicity

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how race and ethnicity may impact your ability to reduce alcohol consumption.

Research has shown that Native Americans are more likely to develop alcoholism than other groups. Conversely, Asians are less affected.

vaeth et al., 2017

Different racial and ethnic groups may have different rates of excessive drinking, and there are a variety of factors including cultural differences, immigration experiences, racial discrimination, socioeconomic challenges, and genetic variations in alcohol metabolism that can contribute to this.

Another study reported higher incidence of high-risk drinking in both Native Americans and Whites. However, after dependence to alcohol occurs, Blacks and Hispanics experience more persistent, recurrent dependence when compared to Whites. Additionally, the consequences of alcohol dependence are more pronounced in Native Americans, Hispanics and Blacks.


It is important to be aware of the risks associated with your particular racial or ethnic background so that you can make informed choices about drinking.

11. Marital status

Your marital status can also affect your ability to reduce alcohol consumption.

For example, people who are married or in a committed relationship are more likely to drink less than those who are single.

Additionally, people who are divorced or widowed are more likely to drink excessively than those who are married.

This may be due to the fact that marriage provides a social support system that can help to prevent excessive drinking.

A study of 2,425 same-sex twins reported that married cotwins consumed fewer alcoholic beverages than their single, divorced, or cohabiting twins.

dinescu et al., 2016

12. Frequency/history of consumption

The frequency and history of your alcohol consumption can also impact your ability to reduce drinking.

If you have been drinking heavily for a long period of time, it may be more difficult to cut back.

Additionally, if you have been through a period of abstinence from alcohol followed by relapse, you may be more likely to struggle with reducing your intake.

It is important to be aware of your drinking patterns so that you can make informed decisions about how to reduce your consumption.

13. Reasons for consumption of alcohol

The reasons that you drink alcohol can also impact your ability to reduce your intake.

For example, people who drink to cope with stress or anxiety may be more likely to struggle with reducing their consumption.

As such, it is important to be aware of your reasons for drinking so that you can make informed choices about how to reduce your consumption.

14. Lack of social support

One of the most important predictors of success in reducing alcohol consumption is social support.

People who have a strong network of family and friends are more likely to be successful in cutting back on their drinking than those who do not.

Additionally, people who participate in Alcoholics Anonymous or other support groups are more likely to be successful in reducing their consumption.

It is important to be aware of the role that social support can play in reducing alcohol consumption.

Read also: 10 Essential Keys To Lasting Behavioral Change

Final words on expert tips to decrease alcohol consumption

Alcohol abuse can lead to a number of problems, both for the individual and for those around them. If you find that you are struggling to control your alcohol intake, it is important to seek help.

Quitting or at least decreasing alcohol consumption can have a lot of benefits for your health, including reducing your risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke. You’ll also feel better mentally and physically – and you may even save some money in the process.

Take the first step today by learning more about how to quit or decrease alcohol consumption.

Related topics

Why is sticking to a healthy lifestyle so hard?

It seems like every day, there is a new study touting the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Eating well and getting regular exercise are essential for maintaining good health and avoiding diseases such as cancer and heart disease. So why is it so hard to stick to a healthy diet and exercise regime? Here’s why

What are some unhealthy habits that I need to quit?

Are you trying to quit an unhealthy habit? Whether it’s smoking, eating junk food, or overindulging in alcohol, kicking a bad habit can be tough. But it’s worth it! Here are some habits that you should quit today. Read more


CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021) Alcohol and Public Health. Frequently Asked Questions

CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019) Excessive Drinking is Draining the U.S. Economy 

CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021) Underage Drinking

Chartier K, Caetano R. Ethnicity and health disparities in alcohol research. Alcohol Res Health. 2010;33(1-2):152-60. 

Clopton, J. (2018) Alcohol consumption among women is on the rise. 

Dinescu, D., Turkheimer, E., Beam, C. R., Horn, E. E., Duncan, G., & Emery, R. E. (2016). Is marriage a buzzkill? A twin study of marital status and alcohol consumption. Journal of Family Psychology, 30(6), 698–707. https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000221

Dubois, S & Roumeliotis, I (2022) More than 6 drinks a week leads to higher health risks, new report suggests – especially for women

NIAAA (2020) Understanding Alcohol’s Impact on Health.

Vaeth, P.A.C., Wang-Schweig, M. and Caetano, R. (2017), Drinking, Alcohol Use Disorder, and Treatment Access and Utilization Among U.S. Racial/Ethnic Groups. Alcohol Clin Exp Res, 41: 6-19. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acer.13285

Share On:

Related articles

Together we'll navigate our way to a healthier, more fulfilled life... One SOLUTION at a TIME.

Content Creator

My Personal Favorites
My Wellness Shop


This website is a participant in the Amazon services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Take a 2-min Quiz