A government survey carried out in 2013 reveals that about 33 million adults have drinking problems and most of them do not acknowledge it. In fact, only 20 percent of them decide to seek medical treatment. However, these rates seem to be on increase mode.
The results of the study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry on Wednesday, the 3rd of June 2015 analyses the numbers and looks at the definition of “alcohol use disorder” that affects so many people.
The research shows that almost 30 percent of American adults had a drinking problem throughout their lives. In order to reach such conclusions, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism managed to interview around 36,000 adults living in the U.S. They were all 18 or older between 2012 and 2013.
The participants had to answer questions related to their drinking habits and other conditions they might have developed due to substance abuse.
The results showed that men face a higher risk of developing and alcohol use disorder. The people who have the tendency to abuse alcohol are also more likely to develop other symptoms such as depression and personality disorders.
Moreover, the study showed that every year, about 32 million American adults start misusing alcohol. That represents 14 percent of the adult U.S. population.
The research also revealed that about 40 percent of the people interviewed had at least once had 5 drinks or more in a day. This was almost 10 percent higher than the percentage shown by the previous survey.
Before 2013, people who misused alcohol were diagnosed with alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse. The American Psychiatric Association decided to stop categorizing these problems as separate and started using the phrase “alcohol use disorder”, which can be mild, moderate or severe.
In order to be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, a person needs to display at least 2 out of the 11 symptoms listed. These include frequent hangovers, cravings for alcohol, poor performance at work or at school and failure to quit drinking or limiting the consumption of liquor.
This is the first study that evaluates the number of people suffering from alcohol use disorder since the term has been implemented.
The authors of the survey recommend authorities to do a better job at informing the population of the dangers of alcohol, since the current numbers show that many people still have a tendency to underestimate them.
Image Source: Cureus