Alcohol Use Disorder Increasingly Common in Women, Older Adults, Minorities
The prevalence of alcohol use, high-risk drinking, and alcohol use disorder have increased significantly over the last 10 years, and constitute a public health crisis, according to a recent study.
In order to update trend data on the prevalence of alcohol use in the United States, researchers collected data from face-to-face interviews conducted as part of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (collected from 2001 to 2002), and the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions III (collected from 2012 to 2013).
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In the time between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, 12-month alcohol use, high-risk drinking, and DSM-IV-defined alcohol use disorder increased by 11.2%, 29.9%, and 49.4%, respectively. For the most part, increases were statistically significant across sociodemographic subgroups, but were greatest among women, older adults, racial/ethnic minorities, and individuals of lower education level and income.
“These increases constitute a public health crisis that may have been overshadowed by increases in much less prevalent substance use (marijuana, opiates, and heroin) during the same period,” the researchers concluded.
“Most important, the findings herein highlight the urgency of educating the public, policymakers, and health care professionals about high-risk drinking and [alcohol use disorder] destigmatizing these conditions and encouraging those who cannot reduce their alcohol consumption on their own, despite substantial harm to themselves and others, to seek treatment.”
Grand BF, Chou SP, Saha TD, et al. Prevalence of 12-month alcohol use, high-risk drinking, and DSM-IV alcohol use disorder in the United States, 2001-2002 to 2012-2013 [published online August 9, 2017]. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.2161