Unhealthy drinking habits are on the rise in the United States. We can't imagine why.
Alcholism America

Graphic House/Getty ImagesA woman sits on the floor of her hotel room in her underwear, leaning against the bed and with a magnum of champagne.

If you work in an office with 20 people, at least two of you probably have a drinking problem.

That’s according to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry, which found that one out of every eight Americans currently struggles with an alcohol disorder.

To get this number, researchers tracked alcohol consumption among 40,000 people from 2002 to 2003 and then again from 2012 to 2013.

The researchers were looking for “high-risk drinking,” which they defined as having four drinks per drinking occasion for women and five drinks per occasion for men. (Every 14 grams of alcohol counted as one drink.)

They found that high risk drinking increased from 9.7% of the population to 13.7% of the population between the two time frames.

They were also tracking alcohol use disorders (AUDs), which

They found that rates of alcohol use disorders, which are indicated by a combination of factors like:

– Drinking interfering with home, family, or job responsibilities
– Drinking increasing chances of danger or injury
– Withdrawal symptoms when coming down from intoxication
– An inability to stop drinking

Overall, the rate of alcohol disorders rose by a shocking 50% — affected 8.5% of the entire population in the first period and 12.7% in the second.

“The price of alcohol has fallen sharply over recent decades, and that is the most compelling explanation for why the population is drinking more,” Keith Humphreys, a drug policy expert at Stanford University, told Vox. “Even the heaviest drinkers respond to changes in the cost of alcohol.”

Interestingly, women, minorities and the elderly were apparently much more affected by the increasing problem.

Alcohol disorders almost doubled among the African American population and increased about 84% among women.

Senior citizens saw a crazy 106.7% spike in alcohol abuse.

But before you start panicking about that blurry night last weekend, remember that this is just one study. It actually contradicts a nationwide 2015 survey that showed a decline in alcohol abuse in 2015.

“While any amount of alcohol abuse is too much, the claims published in JAMA Psychiatry do not comport with findings of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the federal government’s leading survey that tracks substance use disorders,” Sam Zakhari, the Distilled Spirits Council senior vice president of science (so, obviously a bit biased), said in a statement.”The NSDUH shows a decline in alcohol use disorders among all age groups.”

Plus, we’re still not as bad as Europe.


Next, learn why civilization as we know it might have started because of beer. Then, check out five of the craziest ways people have been caught smuggling drugs.

Annie Garau
Annie is a NYC-based writer. For tips, write to [email protected]
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