One in eight American adults – or a little less than 13 percent of the U.S. population – is suffering from alcohol use disorder, according to a new study published this month in JAMA Psychiatry. Rates of alcoholism rose by a whopping 49 percent in the first decade of the 2000s, according to researchers.
Rates of alcoholism were highest among men (16.7 percent), Native Americans (16.6 percent), people below the poverty threshold (14.3 percent), and people living in the Midwest (14.8). The study also revealed that nearly one in four adults under the age of 30 met the diagnostic criteria for alcoholism.
“I think the increases are due to stress and despair and the use of alcohol as a coping mechanism,” said the study’s lead author, Bridget Grant, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Roughly 88,000 people a year die of alcohol-related causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And this is more than twice the annual death toll of opiate overdose.
The authors noted the following alcohol-related causes in the study:
- Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Liver cirrhosis
- Type 2 diabetes
Spotting the Signs of Alcoholism
A few mild symptoms — which you might not even view as a sign of trouble — can signal the start of a drinking problem, according to the NIH. Knowing these signs can help you recognize a problem early and get help for you or someone you love.
The NIH recommends asking yourself the following questions about your drinking habits. In the past year, have you…
- Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?
- More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
- More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
- Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
- Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
- Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over other aftereffects?
- Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
- Found that drinking—or being sick from drinking—often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
- Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
- More than once gotten arrested, been held at a police station, or had other legal problems because of your drinking?
- Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, or a seizure? Or sensed things that were not there?
Getting Help for Alcohol Use Disorder
At Family Recovery Specialists, we can help you or someone you love to break the cycle of addiction and begin the journey of recovery. The longer problematic drinking persists, the more serious it becomes in the future. To learn more about our addiction treatment programs, call today: 305-595-7378.