Every Third Adult Reported Alcohol Problem -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

Deborah S. Hasin, Ph.D., of Columbia University Medical Center, New York, and colleagues analysed data from face-to-face interviews conducted between 2001 and 2002 with 43,093 adults selected to represent the national population. Interviewers asked about all symptoms of alcohol abuse and dependence listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). A diagnosis of alcohol abuse required one or more of the criteria for abuse, while a diagnosis of alcohol dependence required three or more of the seven criteria for dependence. The participants were also diagnosed for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, substance abuse disorder and other psychiatric conditions.

During the twelve months prior to the survey, 8.5 percent of adults had an alcohol use disorder, including 4.7 percent with alcohol abuse and 3.8 percent who were alcohol-dependent. “Alcohol dependence was significantly more prevalent among men, whites, Native Americans, younger and unmarried adults and those with lower incomes,” the authors write. “Current alcohol abuse was more prevalent among men, whites and younger and unmarried individuals while lifetime rates were highest among middle-aged Americans.” Alcohol abuse developed at an average age of 22.5, while dependence began at an average age of 21.9.

Of those who had alcohol dependence during their lifetimes, only 24.1 percent ever received treatment, and 12.1 percent of those with alcohol dependence during the previous year received treatment during that time. The average age at which patients first received treatment for dependence was 29.8 years - eight years later than the average age at which they developed the condition. In addition, treatment rates are slightly lower than those found ten years earlier, where 23.5 percent of those with lifetime dependence and 13.8 percent of those with dependence in the previous 12 months sought treatment.

MEDICA.de; Source: JAMA and Archives Journals