According to a study recently published in JAMA Psychiatry, one in eight American adults now meets the diagnostic criteria for alcoholism. Further, nearly one in four adults under age 30 met the diagnostic criteria for alcoholism.
The study also found that rates of alcoholism were higher among men (16.7 percent), Native Americans (16.6 percent), people below the poverty threshold (14.3 percent), and people living in the Midwest (14.8 percent).
The data used in the study comes from National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), which was administered by the National Institutes of Health.
To meet the diagnostic criteria for alcoholism, a person must either fit the criteria of alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence.
For alcohol abuse, a person must exhibit at least one of the following things (from this National Institutes of Health list) in the past year:
For alcohol dependence, an individual must experience at least three of the following seven symptoms from this National Institutes of Health list:
Disturbingly, alcohol use disorder rose by 49-percent in the first decade of the 2000s, and now affects 12.7-percent of the American population.
The study’s lead author, Bridget Grant, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, talked about the reason she believes there was an increase. “I think the increases are due to stress and despair and the use of alcohol as a coping mechanism.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 88,000 people die every year of alcohol-related causes.