According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate drinking is up
to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.
SAMHSA defines heavy drinking as drinking 5 or more drinks on the same
occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days. When one begins to
drink excessively, they are at risk of developing alcohol use disorder. In
order to be diagnosed with AUD, individuals must meet certain diagnostic
criteria. For example, continued use of alcohol despite problems resulting
from drinking, development of a tolerance, the development of withdrawal
symptoms, or problems controlling intake of alcohol. Whether or not alcohol
use disorder in an individual is considered mild, moderate, or severe is
based on the number of criteria met.