Risky Alcohol Intake on the Rise — Especially in Women, Minorities, Seniors — Physician’s First Watch
Risky Alcohol Intake on the Rise — Especially in Women, Minorities, Seniors
By Kelly Young
Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD
The prevalence of high-risk drinking and alcohol use disorder increased sharply over a decade, constituting a public health crisis, a JAMA Psychiatry study concludes.
Two surveys taken in 2001–2002 and 2012–2013 asked 80,000 U.S. adults about their alcohol use.
Among the findings:
The proportion of people who reported drinking alcohol in the past year increased from 65% to 73% over the 11 years.
The prevalence of high-risk drinking — i.e., drinking 4 or more drinks on a given day for women, 5 or more for men, at least weekly in the past year — rose from 10% to 13%. Increases in high-risk drinking were largest for women (58% increase), racial/ethnic minorities (41–62%), and seniors (65%).
The overall prevalence of alcohol use disorder increased from 9% to 13%. Again, increases were highest among women (84% increase), black participants (93%), and seniors (107%).
An editorialist writes that the study "makes a compelling case that the United States is facing a crisis with alcohol use, one that is currently costly and about to get worse."