Alcoholism among US adults has drastically risen, according to a new study published in the Psychiatry edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
According to the new findings, alcoholism has increased by 49% over an 11 year time period, calling for what researchers define as a "public health crisis."
After crunching the numbers, 12.7% of the US population suffers from some type of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), amounting to roughly 1 in 8 individuals. According to the study's authors:
"These increases constitute a public health crisis that may have been overshadowed by increases in much less prevalent substance use (marijuana, opiates and heroin) during the same period."
The authors go on to explain how the newly surfaced information "highlights the urgency of educating the public, policymakers and health care professionals about high-risk drinking and Alcohol Use Disorder."
By offering these stats, researchers hope to destigmatize AUDs and encourage those who are struggling to reduce their alcohol consumption on their own, to seek treatment.
The research team at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism acquired their results by comparing survey data regarding alcohol use over two year-long periods, from 2001-2002, and 2012-2013, to compare the change over time.
Survey participants were asked about the number of drinks they had per day, how many times they consumed alcohol during the week and whether or not they had been diagnosed with an AUD.
According to the research, women showed an 83.7% increase in alcohol use disorders in the 11-year time frame, while individuals who were 45 years to 64 years of age had an 81.5% increase.
Those 65 years and older had a 106.7 increase in the alcohol-related disorders, as well.
Authors did note some limitations in the study surrounding their conclusions, namely that they weren't able to account for the biological components for substance use, which is known to be interconnected.