Nearly 3 in 10 Americans diagnosed with alcohol use disorder

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Nearly 3 in 10 Americans diagnosed with alcohol use disorder
Nearly 3 in 10 Americans diagnosed with alcohol use disorder

HealthDay News — Although nearly 30% of Americans have a problem with alcohol at some point in their lives – ranging from binge drinking to full-blown alcoholism — fewer than 20% are ever treated, according to a report published in JAMA Psychiatry.

“Alcohol use disorders impair productivity and interpersonal functioning and place psychological and financial burdens on those who misuse alcohol, on their families, friends, and coworkers, and, through motor vehicle crashes, violence, and property crime, on society as a whole,” noted Bridget Grant, PhD of the National Institutes of Health in Rockville, Maryland, and colleagues.

To present nationally representative findings on the prevalence, correlates, psychiatric cobmorbidty, associated disability, and treatment of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth edition (DSM-5) alcohol use disorder diagnoses overall, the investigators used data from a 2012 to 2013 national survey of 36,309 adult patients.

The researchers relied on a new way of compiling data on alcohol abuse based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth edition (DSM-5). The changes included eliminating separate categories for alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. They were combined into a single "alcohol use disorder" diagnosis.

White and Native American men had the highest rates of lifetime drinking problems – 33% and 43%, respectively; 37% of people aged 18 to 29 years, and 34% of those aged between 30 and 44 years had lifetime alcohol disorders; people previously married or who were never married had high rates of lifetime alcohol problems — 27% and 35.5%, respectively; and alcohol abuse was associated with other problems, including major depressive and bipolar disorders, and antisocial and borderline personality disorders.

The study's results suggest “an urgent need to educate the public and policy makers about AUD and its treatment alternatives, to destigmatize the disorder, and to encourage those who cannot reduce their alcohol consumption on their own, despite substantial harm to themselves and others, to seek treatment.”

References

  1. Grant B et al. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015; doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.0584.
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