33 Percent of Americans are Problem Drinkers

A new study, which was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, is showing that nearly one-third of all Americans are problem drinkers. The study also showed that the overwhelming majority of the people misusing alcohol are also not seeking counseling of any kind. The results of this study are pretty scary considering that a lot of people are not looking at drinking alcohol excessively as a problem.


The study showed that 14 percent of adults in the United States misused alcohol, with about 30 percent of all Americans meeting the standard for alcoholic use disorder. Nearly 326 million Americans were found to have had a drinking problem during a 12-month time frame. The findings show that nearly one-third of Americans are problem drinkers of alcohol, with the overwhelming majority of those misusing alcohol not seeking any kind of treatment, which means they are in denial they have a problem.

The research as led by Bridget F. Grant and was conducted with more than 36,000 face-to-face interviews of adults in the United States. This was part of a 2012-2013 National Epidemiology Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. This is a continuance of the largest-ever study that has been conducted on alcohol and drug abuse’s effects on mental health. The new data is showing that alcohol problems are significantly under-treated, and alcohol treatments need to become a mainstream medical practice.

In the study, the researchers found that less than one-in-five adults had looked for help regarding Alcohol Use Disorder treatment, even as alcohol use disorder increased significantly over the past 10 years. The study also showed that the intensity of alcohol consumption is increasing, and more people than before are drinking 8 to 10 drinks in one sitting. There are about 13.9 percent of adults that meet the DSM-5AUD criteria for the previous year, with 29.1 percent meeting the criteria at some point in their lifetime. Only 19.8 percent of adults with lifetime alcohol use disorder are seeking help or treatment, while 7.7 percent of those are seeking out a 12-month alcohol use disorder treatment. There have also been large increases in the DSM-IV alcohol use disorder rates over the past 10 years as well.

The criteria for alcohol use disorder includes having very strong cravings for alcohol, making attempts to cut down on consumption but being unsuccessful, and also having problems at home, school or work because of alcohol use. The rates were higher among the men than the women, with 7 percent of adults between 18 and 29 years of age having abused alcohol within the past year. The study suggests that more intervention and prevention needs to happen in the younger people, and the stigma related to alcohol use needs to end. White and Native Americans were at the highest risk of developing a drinking problem, and those who drank had higher personality disorders, depression and biopolar disorder.

There are about 200 different diseases including liver cancer and liver problems that are a direct result of alcohol use, and there are also greater risks of accidental injuries. This study basically is helping people realize that even if they are not considered alcoholics, there is something called alcohol use disorder, and this is something more people than not suffer from, especially those who have tried to stop drinking but could not. The study also suggests that more education needs to be put into helping people understand the difference between alcoholism and alcohol use disorder, and also tell people the dangers and possibly health damage of drinking alcohol on a regular basis for years.

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Jeanne Rose
Jeanne Rose lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has been a freelance writer since 2010. She took Allied Health in vocational school where she earned her CNA/PCA, and worked in a hospital for 3 years. Jeanne enjoys writing about science, health, politics, business, and other topics as well.