New HBO Documentary Examines The Drinking Habits Of Adults – And How It Affects Us
A new HBO documentary, Risky Drinking, takes a look at the many ways that Americans use and abuse alcohol – not just so-called “alcoholics.”
The documentary was directed by Oscar winner Ellen Goosenberg Kent, and examines alcohol use on a case-by-case basis. The documentary is presented with support from the National Institute of Alcohol and Alcoholism, and centers on four different kinds of drinking habits – casual drinking, social drinking, risky drinking, and deadly drinking.
The documentary uses case studies and expert analysis to examine how these different types of drinking behaviors are used at different ages and phases of people’s lives. It also points out that 70% of Americans drink alcohol, and even those who are not problem drinkers are still at risk.
So what makes Risky Drinking different than other documentaries in the same vein? Well, instead of just profiling the worst, most far gone users, it instead follows a variety of drinkers. These include a young woman who enjoys a weekend binge, as well as a grandfather who is completely dependent on alcohol, suffering from tremors if he goes too long without it.
Among the main goals of the documentary is to show drinkers how they fit in to the spectrum of use, and what it might mean for their health and safety. The documentary also includes interviews from experts on addiction, who explain the science behind it, as well as the dangers of socially-accepted substance use.
But the stories profiled in the documentary don’t have an ending. Each drinker is attempting to help themselves through the use of medication, support groups, or just learning moderation. We don’t know if they ultimately succeed, but we vicariously suffer through their predicament nonetheless.
You can watch Risky Drinking on HBO Now and HBO Go, or check listings for HBO television airings.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology