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Too Much Alcohol

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Social drinker Christian Dempsey says he consumes about five glasses of alcohol each week.

"I don't think it's a major concern right now. As long as you do everything in moderation."

So he never mentioned his drinking to his doctor. New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show most doctors never discuss alcohol use with their patients. Government health officials say at least 38-million Americans "are" consuming too much alcohol. And while most are not alcoholics excessive drinking can cause health and social problems.

"There are several different patterns of problem drinking. One is binge drinking. A second is heavy drinking throughout the week ... averaging more than two per day for men ... more than one per day for women," says CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden.

The report considers a standard drink five ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or a shot of 80-proof liquor. The CDC says excessive drinking causes about 88,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

Researchers have found alcohol screening and counseling can reduce a binge drinker's consumption by as much as 25%.

"Screening for excess alcohol use needs to become routine just as we screen for high cholesterol and high blood pressure."

The CDC recommends "all" adults have that honest chat with their doctors.

Excessive drinking can cause liver disase, infections and increase cancer risk. Under the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans should now cover the costs of alcohol screening and counseling.

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