According to a study published in the psychiatry journal JAMA and reported in Time, alcohol problems have reached an epidemic proportion in the United States as it currently affects about 30 million Americans, which is equivalent to about 14% of U.S. adults, according to new data on Americans’ drinking behaviors.
The study was based on 36,000 respondents and the definition for alcohol problem was based on the alcohol disorder symptoms listed in the handbook DSM – 5 that displayed 2 of the 11 symptoms that such a person exhibits, such as continuity to drink even while knowing it’s harmful effects on relationships, interference with performance at work or inability to quit etc.
The study noted that most of the respondents in this study never sought any form of treatment for their addiction. Among the respondents interviewed, about 30% have been a problem drinker at some point in their lives while 14% are currently problem drinkers.
A problem drinker usually realize at some point in their lives that their health have been impaired such as with delirium tremens when their limbs become wobbly when the drinks get withdrawn or feeling of general malaise when liver cirrhosis starts to set in. The other health problem is loss of appetite where they will eventually lose interest in having a normal meal. The study also found that men tend to abuse alcohol more than women and is particularly acute in the age group of 18 – 29. Within this age range, about 7% displayed severe form of alcohol problem.
“Most importantly, this study highlighted the urgency of educating the public and policy makers about alcohol use disorder and its treatments, destigmatizing the disorder, and encouraging among those who cannot reduce their alcohol consumption on their own, despite substantial harm to themselves and others, to seek treatment,” the study authors concluded.