Risky drinking is rising rapidly in the US

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

Americans, Especially Women, Are Drinking Alcohol More Frequently Now

"Most important, the findings herein highlight the urgency of educating the public, policymakers and health care professionals about high-risk drinking and [alcohol use disorder], destigmatizing these conditions and encouraging those who can not reduce their alcohol consumption on their own, despite substantial harm to themselves and others, to seek treatment", according to the study.

The new findings are based on face-to-face interviews with nationally representative samples of adults in 2001-2002 and 2012-2013.

Though the study reflects stark increases among the population overall, the most noticeable rises were in various population subgroups. Those who said they had more than four or five alcoholic beverages in one sitting also increased from about 10% to about 13%, researchers found.

Heavier drinking was also found among minority groups and those with lower income, researchers stated.

These researchers are calling the drinking levels in the United States a "public health crisis", although they note that there's no definitive conclusion for why women saw a larger increase than men.

"These increases constitute a public health crisis that may have been overshadowed by increases in much less prevalent substance use (marijuana, opiates and heroin) during the same period".

It's estimated that 88,000 people die every year due to alcohol-related causes, reports the Washington Examiner - and people can't seem to agree on how to get a handle on them.

The study tracked drinking patterns among 40,000 Americans between the years of 2002 and 2003, and then again from 2012 to 2013 to establish a long-term picture of their habits.

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According to a recent study, alcoholism amongst American adults has increased by 49 percent from 2002 to 2012. But after that point, drinking rates started to rise significantly, with high-risk drinking rising slightly.

And it's not just the study authors who are concerned. In 2010, excessive drinking cost the USA nearly $250 billion, largely due to health costs.

During the same time period, the incidence of alcohol use disorder rose from 8.5 percent to 12.7 percent. For seniors, individuals 65 and older saw a staggering 106.7% increase in alcohol use disorders from 2002/2003 to 2012/2013.

"Policymakers and health professionals need to be aware of this, too", she added. The number of adults who suffered from an alcohol abuse or dependence grew from 17.6 million to 29.9 million over that decade.

In his editorial, Schuckit wrote that proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health budget could make it harder to monitor growing alcohol use problems and could limit efforts to intervene for people at risk.

The study did propose a solution to help lower these numbers.

Further, Shuckit wrote that any change to the health insurance industry that causes people to lose coverage could cause this and other problems to escalate.

Among the ailments the researchers cite are: fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, liver cirrhosis, several types of cancer and infections, pancreatitis, type 2 diabetes, and various injuries.

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