According to study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry a government survey indicates that 32.6 million US adults have problems with alcohol and the great majority has never sought help. Moreover in recent years the rates have increased.
In May 2013 the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the American Psychiatric Association changed the criteria used to diagnose alcohol abuse. Unlike the first edition which distinguished two type of disorders: alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse, the updated version uses the term “alcohol use disorder” which includes both alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse. In this study the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) used the new concept. In the study researchers used data about 36,309 adults from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions conducted between 2012 and 2013.
It seems that in the given year 14% adults in the US misused alcohol. The director of NIAAA, George Koob, remarked that the cases of alcohol use disorders have been increasing in the last decade. Koob draws attention to the fact that the increase in the number of drinking problems is not the only issue. The researchers observed an increase in the intensity of drinking too. When going out people no longer drink three beers, but at least five. The number of beers can go as high as eight or ten.
The prevalence of alcohol use disorder was highest in the case of younger adults, adults who were previously married and adults who were never married. Higher rates were also reported in the case of males, white adults and Native Americans. The most worrying alcohol use disorder rates were observed in the case of individuals with the lowest income level.
Koob said that it is not clear why the alcohol problems have increased. He also added that people do not take the dangers of excessive drinking seriously. Many of those who have alcohol usage disorder do not seek help because they are concerned about stigma and denial and other refuse to believe that behavior treatments and medications are useful. He point out that Alcoholics Anonymous is not the only way in which they can get through their problems. Koob concluded by saying that the study draws attention to a serious problem which many Americans are faced with but do not realize it.
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