Definitions of Heavy and Binge Drinking According To SAMHSA

"Consistent with federal definitions27 and other federal data collections, the NSDUH definition for binge alcohol use varies for males and females. Binge drinking for males is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days, which is the same as the definition of binge alcohol use that was applied to males in prior years. For females, binge alcohol use is defined in 2015 as drinking four or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. The threshold of four or more drinks for females differs from the threshold of five or more drinks that was used in prior years. Heavy alcohol use is defined as binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past 30 days based on the thresholds that were described previously for males and females. Any alcohol use, binge drinking, and heavy drinking are not mutually exclusive categories of use; heavy use is included in estimates of binge and current use, and binge use is included in estimates of current use (Figure 21). Because of these changes to the definition of binge alcohol use in NSDUH, estimates of binge and heavy alcohol use in 2015 are presented in this report, but these 2015 estimates are not compared with estimates from prior years.28"

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Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 16-4984, NSDUH Series H-51), p. 18. Revised edition released January 2017. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/
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