High-risk drinking and 'alcohol use disorder' climbs among Americans – Charleston Post Courier

A significant increase in heavy drinking since the early 2000s is tantamount to a “public health crisis,” researchers concluded in a new study published last week in JAMA Psychiatry.  

Researchers noticed especially sharp increases among women, racial and ethnic minorities, older adults and those who are socially and economically disadvantaged. 

Using data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, researchers found that 8.5 percent of adults in the U.S. suffered from “alcohol use disorder” in 2001-02. That percentage increased to nearly 13 percent of all adults a decade later. 

Do you need help?

The Charleston Center operates a 24-hour, confidential phone line, 843-722-0100. 

You may also visit the Charleston Center’s website, or send staff members an email. The email account is monitored 24 hours a day. 

Staff at the Charleston Center also offer walk-in assessments for those who may suffer from substance abuse disorders, Monday through Friday from 8:30-10 a.m. or on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 1-2 p.m. 

During the same time period, high risk drinking, which is defined as having five drinks per occasion for men or four for women at least weekly, increased from 9.7 percent to 12.6 percent. 

Meanwhile, adults who drank any alcohol in a 12-month period increased from 65.4 percent in 2001-02 to 72.7 percent in 2012-13.

“Taken together, these findings portend increases in many chronic comorbidities in which alcohol use has a substantial role,” the researchers wrote. “Most important, the findings herein highlight the urgency of educating the public, policymakers and health care professionals about high-risk drinking and AUD (alcohol use disorder), destigmatizing these conditions and encouraging those who cannot reduce their alcohol consumption on their own, despite substantial harm to themselves and others, to seek treatment.”

Rebecca Whitt, the program administrator for adults and adolescent outpatient services at

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