Study: One in Three Americans Will Struggle With Alcohol
> 7/4/2007 2:58:22 PM

In a report that appears in this month's Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers report that nearly one in three Americans will abuse alcohol or develop alcohol dependency over the course of their lives. The team, led by Dr. Deborah Hasin of Columbia University, arrived at these updated statistics by examining data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The NIAAA's National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions asked a representative sample of over 40,000 Americans about their experiences of alcohol.

In reporting on the team's findings, Reuters wrote:

It found that 17.8 percent said they had abused alcohol at some point over the course of their lives and another 12.5 percent said they were dependent on it at some point, for a total of 30.3 percent.

At the time of the survey 4.7 percent said they had abused alcohol in the past year and 3.8 percent said they were alcohol-dependent in the previous 12 months.

And just about a quarter, 24 percent, are ever treated for it, the researchers reported.

As we discussed yesterday in looking at another report that came out of the NIAAA's survey data, alcohol abuse can take on many forms. Dr. Hasin's team used the DSM-IV diagnosis as a jumping off point for their research, but abuse and dependence can often start as much more harmless behaviors.

The Fourth of July is a holiday that includes drinking for many Americans, but as we've seen, even social drinking can become abusive. It's important to be cognizant of not only your own behaviors in relationship to alcohol, but also the behaviors of your friends and family. We now know that one in three Americans will struggle with alcohol, so do what you can to make sure that you and your loved ones don't become part of the statistics.

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