Fourteen percent of Americans currently have an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), according to a study published this week in JAMA Psychiatry, and reported on in Time Magazine.
The study looked at the prevalence of drinking issues using the new definition for alcohol use disorders in the DSM-5 handbook. The clinical guide now classifies problem drinkers as people who have two of 11 symptoms including continuing to drink even if it harms relationships, drinking harming performance at work of school, or inability to quit. The severity of the problem is classified by the number of symptoms a person has.
Through interviews with 36,000 adults, researchers found that 30 percent of people have had an alcohol disorder in their lifetime, and 14 percent currently have one. However, it also found that only about 20 percent of people with a disorder have saught treatment.
“These findings underscore that alcohol problems are deeply entrenched and significantly under-treated in our society,” George F. Koob, PhD, director of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism said in a news release. “The new data should provide further impetus for scientists, clinicians, and policy makers to bring AUD treatment into the mainstream of medical practice.”