Alcoholism epidemic: More than 1 in 8 Americans are now alcoholics

Alcoholism epidemic: More than 1 in 8 Americans are now alcoholics, by Martha Henriques.

Two large surveys carried out in 2001-02 and 2012-13 have found that harmful levels of drinking are increasing among almost all demographics in the US. The number of teetotallers is falling, while high-risk drinking and alcoholism rose sharply during the 11-year period, according to an analysis published in JAMA Psychiatry. …

The largest change was in the most severe alcohol use category. The number of people who had received a diagnosis of alcoholism over the period of the two studies shot up by 49%, affecting 12.7% of the total population.  …

The number of people who had consumed alcohol in the past 12 months went up 11.2% in the time between surveys. High-risk drinking went up by almost 30%. This means that at present about 29.6 million Americans are putting their health at risk due to their drinking habits. …

Despite its prevalence, Americans are not sufficiently aware of the alcoholism crisis.

“The increases in alcohol related outcomes may have been overshadowed by increases in less prevalent drugs like marijuana and opioids, although all increases in alcohol and other substances are important.”