Alcohol abuse at 'alarming' levels in the US

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

The research team didn't give a reason for the spike in alcoholism, but said the increase came about as it became more socially acceptable for women to drink. There were also increases in the rate of AUD among 12-month alcohol users (35.7%) and high-risk drinkers (17.2%).

Sponsored by a federal agency for alcohol research, the results suggest that the country is in the midst of a "public health crisis" according to the researchers. Alcohol is a risk factor for many potentially life-threatening injuries and health problems, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and liver cirrhosis. High-risk drinking increased by 65.2% and AUD increased by 106.7% among adults ages 65 and older, the study found, while alcohol use overall increased by 22.4% within the group.

High-risk drinking among United States adults increased about 30% between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, according to a new study. Survey respondents were considered to have alcohol use disorder if they met widely-used diagnostic criteria for either alcohol abuse or dependence.

'Most important, the findings herein highlight the urgency of educating the public, policymakers and health care professionals about high-risk drinking and AUD, destigmatizing these conditions and encouraging those who can not reduce their alcohol consumption on their own, despite substantial harm to themselves and others, to seek treatment'. The authors of the study say that the cost of society every year for alcohol-related problems is approximately $250 billion. This heavy drinking is defined as consuming more than the daily guidelines - five or more drinks per occasion for men, four or more for women - at least once a week.

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Of course, alcohol is one hundred percent legal, while marijuana, which is not addictive and isn't almost as harmful to people's health (in fact, it has health benefits), is illegal. Women, for instance, are statistically more likely to take prescription drugs that could have an adverse effect with alcohol, and alcohol use can increase chances of breast cancer, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and other female-centric diseases.

And among older adults, abuse and dependence more than doubled. But after that point, drinking rates started to rise significantly, with high-risk drinking rising slightly.

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. Among black people, it increased by 92.8 percent.

The study found that rates of alcoholism were higher among men (16.7 percent), Native Americans (16.6 percent), people below the poverty threshold (14.3 percent), and people living in the midwest (14.8 percent). In Canada, there is a minimum price for alcohol, and when that price has gone up, health problems and hospitalizations related to alcohol have gone down, he says. Because people tend to under-report consumption, especially as the amount of alcohol consumed increases, it's possible consumption levels could be even higher than found in this study. "Policymakers and health professionals need to be aware of this, too". Prevalence of 12-month alcohol use, high-risk drinking, and DSM-IV alcohol use disorder in the United States, 2001-2002 to 2012-2013.

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