Nearly 30 Percent Of Americans Are Alcoholics

A study using the new definition of Alcohol Use Disorder found that more Americans showed signs of alcohol dependence

Jun 07, 2015 at 12:42 PM ET

There are more alcoholics in America than previously thought, and most Americans afflicted with it don’t seek professional help, according to a new study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

The study used the American Psychiatric Association’s new definition of Alcohol Use Disorder and found that nearly three out of 10 Americans had symptoms of an alcohol-related problem at some point in their lives, The Pacific Standard reported. Only one-fifth of them sought professional help.

The third National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions include results from 36,309 face-to-face interviews with Americans between 2012 and 2013, when they were asked a series of questions based on the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. If anyone met two of the manual’s 11 criteria in the last 12 months, they would fall under the diagnose for Alcohol Use Disorder.

Researchers found that almost 30 percent of the people surveyed had shown symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder at some point in their lives, a compound disorder that now combines “alcohol abuse” and “alcohol dependence.” Out of those people, only 19.8 percent had sought help.

Meanwhile, alcohol consumption is reportedly decreasing around the world, according to a study released last month by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The annual amount of alcohol consumed on average by people living in the OECD’s 34 member nations went down 2.5 percent in the past 20 years to around 2.4 gallons per year, the survey reported. Binge drinking among people 15 and younger, however, became more prevalent, according to the study.

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