The Alcohol Crisis: 1 in 8 Americans are Alcoholics

The news often cites the “opioid epidemic”, but a new crisis is looming.  A study found an alarming rise in alcohol consumption within the past fifty years.

An epidemic is hiding in broad daylight.

12.7% of the American population have a disorder directly related to alcohol consumption.  In comparison, in the last decade this is a 50% increase.

JAMA Psychiatry conducted the experiment and recently published their findings.  They compared drinking habits of 43,000 people from 2001-2002 to 36,000 in 2012-2013.

Both casual and binge drinking increased by over 10%.  There was a staggering increase in the amount of alcohol that women were consuming.

The implications for long-term health care make the situation bleak.  Alcoholism has been linked to liver cirrhosis, strokes, cardiovascular disease, and other health issues.  The healthcare costs are estimated to cost about $250 billion.

88,000 deaths were linked to alcohol from 2006 to 2010.  This includes drunk driving incidents, intoxication, and homicide.

What has caused the increase?

There wasn’t any explanation cited for the increase.  However, researchers believe that stress in the wake of the Great Recession might have contributed to the rise.

There were other theories, too.  Heavy marketing, easy accessibility, and weaker alcohol taxes might have also contributed.  This is the cheapest price tag that alcohol has ever seen in the U.S since 1950.

Americans consider alcoholism a character flaw rather than a medical problem.  Around one-fifth of alcoholics receive medical treatment.  Compare this to the treatment of depression, which treats almost 60% of its population.

The first step is admitting there is a problem.