High-risk alcohol use has increased significantly since 2002, study finds

High-risk drinking increases substantially among some groups in the US, study says

Americans, Especially Women, Are Drinking Alcohol More Frequently Now

High-risk drinking was defined as imbibing four or more standard drinks (a drink equals 14 grams of pure alcohol) on any day for women and as drinking five or more standard drinks on any day for men. The numbers reveal "a public health crisis", the authors say. Alcohol is a risk factor for many potentially life-threatening injuries and health problems, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and liver cirrhosis.

The study found the most substantial increases among women, older adults, racial and ethnic minorities and individuals with lower levels of education and income.

The study, which was conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and reported by Time, compared two groups of people from the years 2001-2002 and then 2012-2013.

The study found the number of American adults with an alcohol dependence increased nearly 50 percent during the period studied.

"Most important, the findings...highlight the urgency of educating the public, policymakers, and health care professionals about high-risk drinking and [alcohol use disorders], destigmatizing these conditions and encouraging those who can not reduce their alcohol consumption on their own.to seek treatment", the study posits. The results came from face-to-face interviews with nationally representative samples of adults in 2001-2002 and 2012-2013.

Researchers noted that survey respondents who noted that they had these disorders are likely to carry future health care costs and be more at risk for cancer, cardiac disease, and other serious disorders associated with heavy drinking. High-risk drinking overall rose by 29.9 percent. This is especially true among women, older adults, racial/ethnic minorities, and the socioeconomically disadvantaged. Among the poor (earning less than $20,000) it rose by 65.9 percent. Unlike high-risk drinking, which is defined by an amount of alcohol consumed, alcohol use disorder is classified according to psychological criteria. The jump for adults 65 and older was 106.7 percent, 83.7 percent for women, 51.9 percent for Hispanics and 92.8 percent for blacks.

The research team, lead by Dr Bridget Grant, compared survey data about alcohol use over two year-long periods, from 2001-2002, and 2012-2013, to compare the change over time.

This study wasn't created to determine why people are drinking more.

A new study found the rates of alcohol abuse are increasing in the United States, particularly among specific demographic groups.

To stop the rise in heavy drinking, he suggests "you need to counteract exactly those factors: make [alcohol] more expensive, make it less available and ban advertisements".

There "is and always has been" a lack of awareness regarding the health dangers of drinking excessively, Schuckit says.

- Continued alcohol use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol (e.g., arguments with spouse about consequences of intoxication).

The number of American adults with an alcohol use disorder (defined as a dependence on alcohol) increased almost 50% during the period studied, researchers found - from about 9% to about 13% of the population.

The Distilled Spirits Council, the trade association of producers and marketers of distilled spirits, issued a response to the study, noting that an annual nationwide survey of about 70,000 people ages 12 and older showed a steady decline in alcohol use disorders since the study began in 1988.

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