According to a new study released in JAMA Psychiatry, there has been a significant uptick in Americans with alcohol use disorders over the past decade. With some of the other serious substance abuse issues that are plaguing the country, it may be easy to lose sight of the damage that a legal substance like alcohol can do when abused.
Here is what this latest study reveals about the extent of the nation’s alcohol abuse problem, the dangers and signs of an alcohol abuse problem, and what can be done for those suffering from alcohol abuse.
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New Study Shows an Increase in Alcohol Abuse
According to the latest study results released on August 9, approximately one in eight Americans is currently suffering from an alcohol use disorder. This particular study recorded the drinking patterns of 40,000 adults between 2002 and 2003, and then again between 2012 and 2013 to produce a long-term record of drinking habits.
The study found that alcohol use disorder affected 8.5 percent of the population in the first research period and had an increase of nearly 50 percent to 12.7 percent in the second research period. This translates to almost 30 million people in this country having a problem with alcohol.
When broken down further, the study found that the African American population had nearly double (92.8 percent) the rate of alcohol use disorders and the increase among women was almost 84 percent. The highest spike in the rates of alcohol use disorder, however, was among seniors (adults ages 65 and over), who saw a 106.7 percent increase between the two study periods.
The Signs and Dangers of an Alcohol Use Disorder
When JAMA Psychiatry released its study, it also gave a definition of alcohol use disorder which aligns with guidelines established by the American Psychiatric Association in 1994. Alcohol abuse is characterized by such things as:
- The inability to stop drinking
- Alcohol use that interferes with family, home, or work responsibilities
- Alcohol use increasing the possibility of injury or danger
- Withdrawal symptoms occurring when recovering from intoxication
Alcohol abuse can affect your personal and professional life, but it can also impact you in other serious ways. Some people find themselves in legal trouble due to poor decisions made while under the influence of alcohol. Driving while drunk is illegal, and it can also have life-threatening consequences for both you and others. Your health is another serious concern; prolonged alcohol use can cause liver disease, digestive problems, heart problems, and a weakened immune system, just to name a few.
Help Available for Those Suffering from Alcohol Abuse
Overcoming an alcohol use disorder is difficult to achieve in isolation. As a general rule, treating alcoholism should be accomplished with medical supervision because there are some dangers associated with alcohol detox. Full participation in a comprehensive alcohol recovery program with the help of trained professionals is the best way to break free from the chains of alcohol abuse and start on the road to long-term recovery. Contact The Recovery Village now to find out how our specialized alcohol treatment programs can help you or a loved one.