New research published in JAMA Psychiatry has cemented the fact that alcoholism is still a problem in America. Despite the startling and tragic rising numbers of lives lost to the opioid epidemic, there is still a chronic and fatal problem with alcohol throughout America. The study found that one out of every eight Americans would meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder as it is listed in the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders. The DSM-V is considered the authority on mental disorders and the symptoms which warrant a diagnosis.

The one in eight Americans with diagnosable alcohol use disorder accounts for approximately 13% of the adult population, or about 30 million people. Data for the study was collected between 2012-2013, surveying over 36,000 people. Other findings from the data found that alcoholism had a steady rise of nearly 50% since 2001-2002. Over the course of the ten years prior to the study, general alcohol consumption rose by 11.2% and high-risk drinking rose by 29.9%.

 

Populations With The Highest Increases

Not all of the increase in alcoholism was found to be the same across different demographics. Women had an especially striking increase in alcohol abuse as did all adults over the age of forty-five and certain minority groups. Other studies have highlighted the increase in drinking among women. Rapidly, the “gender gap” between male and female alcoholics of all other specific demographics is closing. Women are drinking as much, in some cases more, as their male counterparts. Women generally require less alcohol than their male counterparts to achieve intoxication. The trends of high-risk and alcoholic drinking in women is troubling because of the metabolic differences between the female body and the male body.

 

Symptoms Of Alcoholism

If you are concerned that you or a loved one might be struggling with an alcohol use disorder, there are general and specific symptoms which will help you identify a problem. Alcoholism can come in varying stages before full chemical dependency develops. Alcohol abuse, which may not include chemical dependency, is still problematic drinking. Early intervention for alcohol abuse can prevent the full effects of chemical dependency from developing. Symptoms of alcoholism can include:

  • Drinking more than intended
  • Regularly drinking heavily
  • Being out of control of drinking and behaviors while under the influence of alcohol
  • Impairments in functioning, health, responsibility, and relationships
  • Developing a tolerance toward alcohol and needing more to feel drunk
  • No longer getting drunk when drinking large volumes of alcohol
  • Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal like shaking, sweating, and cravings for alcohol

 

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