Published: Sat, August 12, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

1 in 8 Americans struggle with alcohol disorder

1 in 8 Americans struggle with alcohol disorder

And then there's problem drinking.

The study is calling the increase a public health crisis that is being overshadowed by the use of other substances like opioids, heroin, and marijuana.

"Women tend to develop complications from alcohol consumption much more quickly, and they tend to be much more severe", he says.

In 2012-2013, an estimated 29.6 million American adults reported high-risk drinking, up from 20.2 million in 2001-2002.

High-risk drinking, in this study, referred to women drinking four or more drinks in a day, or men drinking five or more drinks in a day, on a weekly basis. They also said they expect those costs to increase because it can take a few years before the damage done by increased alcohol use to be seen.

Between 2002 and 2013, overall drinking increased by 11 percent. These face-to-face interviews queried adults 18 years and older on their drinking habits in the past 12 months. The rate of high-risk drinking stood at 10 percent (20 million people) in 2001-2002. 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.

Among women, it rose about 58 percent; among older adults, it rose 65 percent.

The highest increase, however, is in Americans who suffered in the past 12 months from the DSM-IV variety of alcohol use disorder, also known as AUD, which the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism notes can exist as either alcohol abuse or dependence.

Heavy drinking and alcohol use disorders are risk factors associated with health problems such as heart problems, hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, cancer, and infections. These include, for instance, whether drinking interferes with family or professional life and if drinkers experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea or shakiness.

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But in women, those categories jumped 60 percent and 84 percent, respectively.

Heavy drinking and alcohol use disorder contribute to diseases that are also on the rise, says study coauthor Bridget Grant, an epidemiologist at NIAAA in Bethesda, Md.

From 65 percent in the early 2000s, up to 73 percent by 2013. 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.

This study wasn't created to determine why people are drinking more. Because of this, the study presses for "the development of prevention and intervention strategies" that will target both the entire population and the subgroups who are particularly at risk.

If you're an American and you drink alcohol, you're not alone.

To stop the rise in heavy drinking, he suggests "you need to counteract exactly those factors: make [alcohol] more expensive, make it less available and ban advertisements". For instance, excessive drinking cost the country about $250 billion, mostly due to health costs. "Clearly, alcohol does not get the necessary attention given the problems it causes", says Rehm.

The study data were derived from face-to-face interviews conducted in two nationally representative surveys of US adults: the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, with data collected from April 2001 to June 2002, and the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions III, with data collected from April 2012 to June 2013.

M. Schuckit. Remarkable increases in alcohol use disorders.

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