"Unemployment, residential segregation, discrimination, decreased access to health care, and increased stigma associated with drinking" are all things that could play a role in the shift, according to the study.
The study, which was conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and reported by Time, compared two groups of people from the years 2001-2002 and then 2012-2013.
Problems with alcohol increased by almost 50 percent.
"Most important, the findings.highlight the urgency of educating the public, policymakers, and health care professionals about high-risk drinking and [alcohol use disorders], destigmatizing these conditions and encouraging those who can not reduce their alcohol consumption on their own.to seek treatment", the study posits.
A shelf in the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's research alcohol bar at National Institutes of Heath in Bethesda, Maryland, in 2014.More news: Analysts Recommended this Stock: Antero Resources Corporation (AR)
An individual was also considered to have AUD if they met the criteria for alcohol dependence or abuse in the past 12 months as they are defined in the DSM-IV.
'Most important, the findings herein highlight the urgency of educating the public, policymakers and health care professionals about high-risk drinking and AUD, destigmatizing these conditions and encouraging those who can not reduce their alcohol consumption on their own, despite substantial harm to themselves and others, to seek treatment'. High-risk drinking overall rose by 29.9 percent.
The findings suggest "a public health crisis", the researchers say, given the fact that high-risk drinking is linked to a number of diseases and psychiatric problems, as well as violence, crime and crashes. This is especially true among women, older adults, racial/ethnic minorities, and the socioeconomically disadvantaged. But what's even more concerning is that "high-risk drinking" increased by nearly 30%, meaning more people were finding themselves having four or five - or more - drinks per day at least once a week. Among black people, it increased by 92.8 percent.
These subgroup-specific increases could prove to have particularly deadly effects, the study's authors noted.
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And among older adults, abuse and dependence more than doubled.
Overall, alcohol use disorders rose by nearly 50%, affecting a projected 8.5% of the population during the first research period, and 12.7% during the second.
Survey respondents 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 alcohol use disorder (AUD).
While there was no clear reason as to the increases, researchers claimed it constitutes a "public health crisis" on par with the current national opioid crisis.
These calls for new public health strategies are all the more important because though alcohol abuse is a widespread issue, treatment rates remain disproportionately low.More news: Alabama judge calls teacher sex charges unconstitutional
The study's findings, the authors wrote, "herein highlight the urgency of educating the public, policymakers, and health care professionals about high-risk drinking and AUD, destigmatizing these conditions and encouraging those who can not reduce their alcohol consumption on their own, despite substantial harm to themselves and others, to seek treatment".
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