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Survey: one third of Americans abuse alcohol

 
 
Reply Tue 3 Jul, 2007 06:29 am
Quote:
NATION
Study: 30% of Americans get into alcohol troubles


By Carla K. Johnson
Associated Press
Published July 3, 2007

More than 30 percent of American adults have abused alcohol or suffered from alcoholism at some point in their lives, and few have received treatment, according to a government study.

Alcoholics who got treatment first received it, on average, at about age 30 -- eight years after they developed dependence on drinking, researchers reported.

"That's a big lag," especially combined with the fact that only 24 percent of alcoholics reported receiving any treatment at all, said study co-author Bridget Grant of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The treatment rate for alcoholics was slightly less than the rate found a decade earlier. The study did not look at reasons for the decline, but other research has revealed a widespread belief that treatment doesn't work.

However, Dr. Mark Willenbring, director of the institute's Division of Treatment and Recovery Research, said evidence indicates that substance-abuse treatment is more effective than treatments for many medical disorders.

Three common approaches to treating alcoholism are 12-step programs, cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy. Medications such as Antabuse, naltrexone and Campral also can help in combination with counseling, he said.

"The important thing is to engage with treatment and stick with it," Willenbring said.

About 42 percent of men and about 19 percent of women reported a history of either alcohol abuse or alcoholism during their lives. Whites and Native Americans were more likely than other ethnic groups to report drinking problems.

Alcohol abuse was defined as drinking-related failure to fulfill major obligations at work, school or home; social or legal problems; and drinking in hazardous situations. Alcoholism was characterized by compulsive drinking; preoccupation with drinking; and tolerance to alcohol or withdrawal symptoms.

The definitions were based on the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual.

Treatment, in the study's definition, could have been by a doctor or another health professional, in a 12-step program, at a crisis center or through an employee-assistance program.

The study, appearing in Monday's Archives of General Psychiatry, is based on a new analysis of the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. The survey involved more than 43,000 face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of Americans, ages 18 and older.

A previous report on the same data found that 4.7 percent of adults reported alcohol abuse in 2001-2002, and 3.8 percent reported alcoholism.

The new analysis is the first to report on the prevalence of alcohol problems over a lifetime.

The study was funded by the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a division of the National Institutes of Health.
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 837 • Replies: 9
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jul, 2007 06:30 am
http://i9.tinypic.com/62r8adx.jpg
(Source: Chicago Tribune, 03.07.07, page 3; online)
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jul, 2007 07:42 am
Re: Survey: one third of Americans abuse alcohol
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Quote:
Alcohol abuse was defined as drinking-related failure to fulfill major obligations at work, school or home; social or legal problems; and drinking in hazardous situations. Alcoholism was characterized by compulsive drinking; preoccupation with drinking; and tolerance to alcohol or withdrawal symptoms.

The definitions were based on the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual.


I have to wonder how people interpreted "major obligations" when they responded to this survey.

Is showing up at work or class on time a "major obligation"? Razz
0 Replies
 
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jul, 2007 08:43 am
I'd say that since my work is now the sole income for 3 people, that my showing up at work on time would be classed as a major obligation.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jul, 2007 08:59 am
Re: Survey: one third of Americans abuse alcohol
fishin wrote:
I have to wonder how people interpreted "major obligations" when they responded to this survey.

Is showing up at work or class on time a "major obligation"? Razz


I suppose that the survey is similar to those used worldwide.

Yes, that is a "major oblication" (the questions are explained, e.g. 'did you show up at work after drinking the day/eveing/night before', 'did someone tell you that you come late to work anytime after you had some drinks' etc.

This manual, with frequent changes, has been used quite some time (decades already), and all national/international figures are based on it (or the relevant national versions).
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jul, 2007 09:05 am
I personally think that number is rather high for US (maybe northeastern)...though I think it could be 20%. Perhaps because I know that none of my friends abuse alcohol. Only one HAD a problem but no longer does. None of my family or relatives have, either. Now I know there's nothing scientific at all about that as a survey. Intuitively ONLY, I think the number regarding alcohol abuse is a bit high. However, if you add the number of drug abusers on top of alcohol abusers then I think that number to be about 40%, in totality. Sobriety is not just about alcohol.

Upon re-reading, I noticed that this about present usage/abuse at some point in your life. Maybe it IS true...after all?!
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jul, 2007 10:23 am
I think it's a totally reasonable figure.

However, I have to wonder about the lower % of women.

I think there's more hidden drinking being done there.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jul, 2007 10:27 am
Ragman wrote:
I personally think that number is rather high for US (maybe northeastern)...though I think it could be 20%.


You think it is high? I'd think that the 30% number is very low. I don't know a single adult that has never missed a class in college, shown up late for work or missed some sort of personal appointment at least once in their life because they were out partying the night before.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jul, 2007 10:43 am
Well, if it's only about a one time (or perhaps a few times) reaction on alcohol abuse ...

In Germany, we have data about those who (would) need medical treatment for their alcoholism (!): about 8%.
The number of those who drink too often too much is about another 10%.
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jul, 2007 10:56 am
Yeah, if was just a matter of once or a couple times not being able to function the next day, at some point many, many of us would be guilty.

I guess it's more subjective. My gut was telling me when they said "at some point in their lives" they were talking about a longer time frame, of perhaps at the least a few months.....or maybe a few bad weeks.

I've know people with no alcohol problem take an island vacation or some other fun in the sun thing and drink (for them) an unusually high amount during those couple of weeks.
I wouldn't say they were abusing alcohol if they weren't putting other people in danger. I certainly wouldn't think they were developing a long term problem.
0 Replies
 
 

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