Alcohol Use And Abuse Spiking In US, Study Says

Alcohol Use And Abuse Spiking In US, Study Says

The rate of high-risk drinking surged from 10 percent (20 million people) to almost 13 percent (just under 30 million people) over the study's span. High-risk drinking is considered four or more drinks on any day for women, and five or more drinks for men.

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.

In the latest issue of the journal JAMA Psychiatry Bridget F. Grant and colleagues have reported that alcohol use is rising at an alarming rate in the United States.

Women, older adults, racial minorities and those with lower levels of education and income experienced the greatest increase in drinking rates. That said, they have some theories involving the number of women in the workforce, stress levels, and income inequality.

Male high risk drinking increased by 15% and alcoholism by 35%, while female high-risk drinking increased by 58% and alcoholism by 84%.

For women the rise in AUDs is also significantly high - an 83.7% increase in AUDs over the 11 years says this study.

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The increase in alcohol abuse or dependence was even greater: About 12.7 percent of respondents reported such behavior in the 2012-13 period, compared with 8.5 percent in 2001-02. That percentage rise is analogous to 10.5 million people at the existing population. Plus, the authors also highlighted the financial burden that's associated with heavy drinkers.

The estimated cost of excess alcohol consumption is nearly $250 billion per year in the U.S.

The researchers also found that deaths from alcohol-related cirrhosis increased substantially between 2009 and 2013 for the first time since the 1970s. Data was collected from April 2001 to June 2002 for National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions and from April 2012 to June 2013 for National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions III. Making alcohol more costly through higher taxes or setting minimum prices could reduce consumption, said William Kerr, senior scientist at the Alcohol Research Group, a nonprofit research center primarily funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. That's nearly 30 million Americans actively struggling with alcohol abuse.

"People need to really take some of the information about the potential harms of heavy drinking into account when determining when and how much to drink", said Hasin, according to Business Insider. "Policymakers and health professionals need to be aware of this, too".

The researchers didn't look into the causes of this dramatic increase, but they suggested some reasons could include changing social norms and alcohol consumption as a coping device.

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