New Study Finds One in Eight Americans Is an Alcoholic

High-risk alcohol use has increased significantly since 2002 study finds

High-risk alcohol use has increased significantly since 2002 study finds

However, the details of the study are rather alarming - and pretty unsafe.

According to a recent study, alcoholism amongst American adults has increased by 49 percent from 2002 to 2012.

Older adults, too, had sharp increases, even though the group has traditionally had lower rates of alcohol use compared to the overall population.

The results take an even more interesting turn when gender is brought into the conversation. The study also classified high-risk drinking as exceeding those daily drinking limits at least once a week in the a year ago. This is especially true among women, older adults, racial/ethnic minorities, and the socioeconomically disadvantaged.

The findings suggest "a public health crisis", the researchers say, given the fact that high-risk drinking is linked to a number of diseases and psychiatric problems, as well as violence, crime and crashes.

The researchers also wrote that moderate drinking doesn't seem to cause alcohol use disorder rates to rise almost as much as heavy drinking does. The researchers suggest that growing wealth inequality between whites and minorities may have led to "increased stress and demoralization", while educational, employment, housing and health disparities faced by non-white Americans may also lead to increased coping behaviors.

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Between 2002 and 2013, overall drinking increased by 11 percent.

"Once you get into the more heavy drinking ranges, the probability is you're cutting five to 10 years off people's lives", says Marc Schuckit, a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.

"Most important, the findings...highlight the urgency of educating the public, policymakers, and health care professionals about high-risk drinking and [alcohol use disorders], destigmatizing these conditions and encouraging those who can not reduce their alcohol consumption on their own.to seek treatment", the study posits.

"High risk" drinking has increased on pace with alcohol abuse, swelling from 9.7 percent of the population in 2002-2003 to 13.7 percent of the population in 2012-2013.

But high-risk and problem drinking increased far more dramatically. In 2015, the survey found about 15.7 million people had an alcohol use disorder in the past year, and 7.7 million people had an illicit drug use disorder.

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An estimated 1 out of every 8 Americans struggles with an alcohol disorder. Alcohol use can also put older adults at a higher risk for a fall and for chronic diseases that can be caused by alcohol use.

Maybe if more studies like this come out, people will begin realizing that as well.

Dr. George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, left, and NIAAA scientist Dr. Lorenzo Leggio at a research laboratory inside the National Institutes of Health's hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, in December 2014. The stigma associated with heavy drinking and alcohol use disorder is also an issue, deterring people from getting help. For instance, excessive drinking cost the country about $250 billion, mostly due to health costs.

An individual was also considered to have AUD if they met the criteria for alcohol dependence or abuse in the past 12 months as they are defined in the DSM-IV.

Though alcohol use reportedly remained stagnant or declined from the 1970s to 1990s, previous studies had reported it increasing in the '90s to early 2000s, and other studies have similarly reflected a narrowing of the gap in alcohol use among women versus men.

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