Nearly 1/3 of Adults Have Been Problem Drinkers


A new study suggests that thirty percent of the adults in the United States have abused alcohol at some point in their lives. Most have never sought treatment.

About 14 percent of American adults misuse alochol in any given year, the study also noted. This means that 32.6 million Americans have a drinking problem every year.

"The study found that the risk of alcohol use disorders appears to be going up," said George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alocholism in a release. The NIAAA conducted the research.

Few seek any treatment and it's getting worse.

The problem if misusing alcohol and having an alcohol use disorder is getting worse, the researchers say. Many are having not one or two or even three drinks on a night out, but are having five, eight, or even ten. The research is using the new term "alcohol use disorder," which replaces both alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence in the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

There are 11 diagnostic criteria within the DSM-5 for alcohol use disorder and adults must meet at least two in order to be diagnosed.

The study also found that most of those who likely quality for alcohol use disorder do not seek or receive treatment for it. After interviewing 36,000 adults in the U.S. over a 14 month period, researchers learned that most did not look for treatment or even acknowledge that they could have a problem.

In all, only about 20 percent of those who are drinking heavily are going to seek treatment for it, the study revealed.

"This study is shining a light on a serious problem that many Americans might not realize is there," Koob said.

Source: JAMA Psychiatry


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