One-Third Of Adults In US Affected By Alcohol Use Disorder

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(IN PHOTO)Beer bottles are pictured on a table in a bar in Antananarivo March 21,2009. REUTERS

A new study supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, or NIAAA has reported that about one-third of Americans are affected by the medical condition called Alcohol use disorder, or AUD which is characterised by alcohol abuse leading to mild to severe distress or harm. The study is published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry and highlights that although there is a significant increase in AUDs over the last decade there are only about 20 percent of people who actually seek help.

For their study, Dr. Bridget F. Grant, at the NIAAA Division of Biometry and Epidemiology and his team conducted interviews of more than 36,000 individuals in the U.S. as part of the 2012-13 National Epidemiology Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. It was a continuation of the largest-ever study to be conducted for studying the effects of alcohol and drug abuse on the mental health of the people.

The results of the survey revealed that only one in five people in United States seek treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder amid significant rise in the incidence of the condition. The study also reported that the number of drinks that people consume in a day is also increasing. Grants explains, “We found that 13.9 percent of adults met DSM-5 AUD criteria for the previous year, while 29.1 percent met AUD criteria at some time in their life. Only 19.8 percent of adults with lifetime alcohol use disorder sought treatment or help, while 7.7 percent of those with a 12-month alcohol use disorder sought treatment. Perhaps most importantly, we saw large increases in DSM-IV alcohol use disorder rates over the last decade.”

The NIAAA has reported that more than 200 diseases that included types of cancers, liver diseases and increased risk for accidental injuries can all be attributed to alcohol abuse. The NIAAA director, George F. Koob says, “These findings underscore that alcohol problems are deeply entrenched and significantly under-treated in our society. The new data should provide further impetus for scientists, clinicians, and policy makers to bring AUD treatment into the mainstream of medical practice. This study is shining a light on a serious problem that many Americans might not realize is there.”


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