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Nearly 3 in 10 Americans Have Alcohol Use Disorder

Fewer than 20 percent get help

WEDNESDAY, June 3, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 30 percent of Americans have a problem with alcohol at some point in their lives, ranging from binge drinking to full-blown alcoholism, but fewer than 20 percent are ever treated, according to a report published online June 3 in JAMA Psychiatry.

For the study, a research team led by Bridget Grant, Ph.D., of the National Institutes of Health in Rockville, Md., used data from a 2012 to 2013 national survey of 36,309 adults.

The researchers relied on a new way of compiling data on alcohol abuse based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth edition (DSM-5). The changes included eliminating separate categories for alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. They were combined into a single "alcohol use disorder" diagnosis. Among respondents with 12-month and lifetime DSM-5 alcohol use disorder diagnoses, 7.7 and 19.8, respectively, sought treatment.

The researchers also discovered the following: White and Native American men had the highest rates of lifetime drinking problems -- 33 and 43 percent, respectively; 37 percent of people aged 18 to 29, and 34 percent of those between 30 and 44 years had lifetime alcohol disorders; people previously married or who were never married had high rates of lifetime alcohol problems -- 27 and 35.5 percent, respectively; and alcohol abuse was associated with other problems, including major depressive and bipolar disorders, and antisocial and borderline personality disorders.

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