Americans and Our Drinking Problem
According to a recent article by Amanda Chan on Yahoo! Health, a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that nearly one third of American adults have a drinking problem at some point in their lives and that very few – less than 20 percent – receive treatment.
Officially known as “alcohol use disorder” or AUD, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) estimates that approximately 17 million adults (ages 18 and older) had AUD in 2012. Of these 17 million, approximately 11.2 million were men and 5.7 million were women (www.niaaa.nih.gov).
According to the NIAAA website, this drinking problem is not limited to only adults, however. The NIAAA estimates that 855,000 adolescents (ages 12-17) had AUD in 2012.
According to the NIAAA, an individual must meet at least two of eleven criteria in a 12-month period in order to be diagnosed with a drinking problem. To determine if you or someone you know has a drinking problem, ask if, in the past year, you:
1. Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
2. More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldnâ€™t?
3. Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
4. Experienced craving â€” a strong need, or urge, to drink?
5. Found that drinking â€” or being sick from drinking â€” often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
6. Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
7. Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
8. 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)?
9. 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?
10. 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?
11. Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?
Because researchers found that alcohol use disorders have increased over the last decade, it is important to educate the public on the dangers of this drinking problem. Alcohol abuse damages the heart, liver, and pancreas and can increase one’s risk of developing various types of cancer.
Individuals currently suffering from a drinking problem should reach out for help. Call us for help today.