A recent study revealed some surprising statistics and information about the rising alcohol abuse in the U.S. and how it has changed in the past decade. Trends show that more Americans are drinking alcohol and more of them are drinking to a point that is dangerous or harmful. The increase has been especially prominent among women, minorities and older adults.
Alcohol Abuse Is Worse Than You Think
A federal agency for alcohol research sponsored the study which examined how drinking patterns in the U.S. changed between 2003 and 2013 by surveying tens of thousands of adults. Their findings showed that drinking in general increased substantially over that time period. Even worse, problem drinking increased by an even greater percentage. Unfortunately the numbers amount to a possible public health crisis considering the consequences that accompany high risk drinking.
Drinking heavily can lead to a number of different diseases and health problems including psychological issues as well as violence, crime and car accidents. If drinking continues to increase at this rate it could put a strain on the country and cause issues for many Americans in need of treatment. This health crisis would only add the myriad of problems the U.S. is facing as a result of other issues like the opioid epidemic which has yet to be fully dealt with by the government.
Drinking Patterns Over Time
The rates of alcohol use have not always followed the same trends in the U.S. in the past. There actually were declining drinking rates between the 1970s and 1990s but then the patterns changed. Drinking statistics began to rise from the early 90s on with the percentage of people consuming alcohol increasing by nearly half and problem drinking increasing by 20%.
This most recent study of drinking trends over a decade between 2002 and 2013 showed that the rates increased by 11%. By 2013 nearly three quarters of Americans said that they had a drink within the last year. The numbers were even higher among certain minority groups with an increase of nearly 30% for Asians and 22.4% for elderly adults over the age of 65.
High Risk and Problem Drinking
In addition to the overall increase in drinking, women and older adults seem to be affected the most by an increase in high risk drinking (drinking more than four or five drinks a day). High risk drinking rose among women by 58% and among older adults by 65%.
Other issues were studied such as problem drinking (alcohol consumption that causes recurrent problems or alcohol dependence). Problem drinking rose by nearly 50% and affected women and certain minorities the most. The rates of problem drinking among women increased by 83.7% and among African Americans by 92.8 percent.
In the poorest populations with incomes of less than $20,000 a year, problem drinking rose by 65.9%. Among senior citizens age 65 and older problem drinking increased by an astounding 106.7%. Overall research shows that one out of every eight Americans currently struggles with an alcohol disorder and the rising of alcohol abuse continues.
Evaluating Changing Drinking Patterns
Researchers were unsure as to the cause of the increase in drinking among older and elderly adults. However, they admit that the numbers were “unprecedented.” The dramatic rising of alcohol abuse is also concerning because older adults are more vulnerable to health problems and accidents that can occur as a result of heavy drinking.
The increase in drinking rates among women may have to do with stress and coping mechanisms as well as changing social norms. In the past alcohol abuse was mainly a problem for men but rates of alcoholism among women are catching up. It may be more socially accepted for women to drink heavily than it was in the past and women are now a greater part of the workforce and experience more stress.
Rates among minorities have increased much greater than the rates of white Americans. This difference in alcohol abuse may have to do with greater wealth inequality and increased stress among minority groups. These groups also generally experience more problems with employment, education and housing which can lead to coping methods such as drinking.
Researchers in the study want to draw more attention to alcohol issues which are being overshadowed by the opioid epidemic that has struck the nation. Substance abuse has increased in a variety of different categories and alcohol abuse is a problem that must be addressed alongside opioid addiction.
The Need For Effective Alcohol Addiction Treatment
At Seasons in Malibu, we understand the difficulty of battling the rising tide of alcohol abuse and addiction. We provide a comprehensive program that combines evidence-based treatments with holistic therapies for lasting recovery. Our team of experienced professionals utilizes individualized care plans to ensure that each patient receives treatment catered to their unique needs and lifestyle.
Our detoxification services help patients safely withdraw from alcohol. Furthermore, our residential programs offer around-the-clock care to promote physical and emotional healing. In addition to traditional therapies, we incorporate holistic therapies such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture, art therapy, and life coaching into our treatment plans for a more holistic approach to recovery.
Our goal is to help each patient find long-term sobriety and the joyous life they deserve. We are here to give you the tools you need to achieve your goals, no matter how big or small they may be. With our help, you can start your journey towards lasting sobriety today. Contact us at 424.235.2009 to learn more about how we can help you recover from alcohol addiction.