GREENVILLE, S.C. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 140,000 people in the United States die every year from excessive alcohol use.

7NEWS spoke with two physicians about preventing alcohol abuse and treating dependency before it is fatal.

Drinking in moderation is defined by “The Dietary Guidelines for Americans” as men of legal drinking age limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day and for women 1 drink or less.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said “excessive alcohol use” is on the rise.

“I am getting more people saying, you know I really have started drinking more through the pandemic.”

Dr. Meredith Bergey Vejnar, Family Medicine Physician, Bon Secours St. Francis

Dr. Carson Felkel, a psychiatrist, and Dr. Meredith Vejnar, a family medicine physician, said alcohol use disorder is a medical condition where someone struggles to stop drinking.

“Alcohol use disorder is really defined by people drinking a certain amount of drinks that then begins to impair their functioning, whether that be at home, at work or they may be doing more risky behaviors,” Dr. Felkel said.

Excessive drinking is a leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. However, for those struggling, it can be hard to control alcohol use without help. That’s where mental health professionals, like Dr. Felkel, come in.

“There are so many good treatments for alcohol use disorder. It could be individual one-on-one behavioral therapy, we might call it talk therapy.. there are group therapies… support groups,” Dr. Felkel said.

Another approach includes medications to help cut people’s cravings for alcohol.

“Sometimes your family doctor or specialist may prescribe medications to curb your cravings or your dependence on alcohol,” Dr. Vejnar said.

Quitting “cold turkey” is difficult for those with alcohol use disorder, so don’t be embarrassed to reach out for help.

“Be honest and say this is how much I’m drinking on a regular basis. What do you think about that? Ask your doctor if they have any suggestions for cutting back,” Dr. Vejnar said.

“It’s a brain disorder. At some point, people cannot stop drinking on their own and they need help,” Dr. Felkel said.

If you, or someone you love, are struggling with alcohol use disorder, reach out to your healthcare provider.

There are also local support groups across the state that you can sign-up for.

To find an AA location near you, click here.

To find an Al-Anon location near you, click here.