Is Alcoholism on the Rise in America?
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A new study shows a 50 percent increase in alcohol dependency in 10 years
We’re big fans of tossing back a beer or two at your weekend barbecue. Moderate drinking—about two servings per day for men—can bring about health benefits like lowering your risk for diabetes and increasing your creativity.
But new research has shown that an increasing number of Americans have developed an alcohol dependence that researchers are calling a “public health crisis.”
According to a new study where researchers sat down for interviews with nationally representative samples of adults in the U.S., they found that high-risk drinking in adults has increased 30 percent between 2001 to 2002 and 2012 to 2013. The study defined “high-risk drinking” as regular consumption of four drinks a day for women and five for men. What’s more, researchers found that 50 percent of people studied during the above time frame are dependent on alcohol.
“Light drinking has been shown to be helpful for people’s health overall, but heavy drinking can lead to some harms and impairment,” the study’s lead author Deborah Hasin, Ph.D., told Reuters.
Additionally, heavy drinking can lead to severe health problems such as high blood pressure, heart problems, stroke, or cancer.
The study didn’t explain the reason for this increased alcohol consumption, but Hasin said researchers are trying to find a concrete answer. She suggests that it could be because of changing social norms and its use as a coping device. If you do think you might have a dependence on alcohol, we urge you to seek help.
“If you have a family history of alcoholism, and especially if one or both of your parents has alcohol abuse issues, you need to be wary of booze,” George Koob, Ph.D., director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, told Men’s Health in July.
Concerned you’re drinking too much? Answer these questions from the American Psychiatric Association and find out if your habit is becoming harmful.
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Additional reporting by Markham Heid.
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