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New Drinking Study Causes Concern

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The drinking culture in America is changing…for the worse.

A research study published in JAMA Psychiatry compared two large studies where American adults self-reported their drinking behaviors. The first study was conducted from 2001 to 2002 and compared to a recent study from 2012 to 2013.

Overall, Americans who reported they drank at least once in a year-long period increased by 11 percent. High-risk drinking, meaning drinking four or more beverages per day at least once a week for women and five or more for men, increased by 30 percent. One of the most concerning finds – alcohol use disorders, more commonly referred to as alcoholism, increased by almost 50 percent.

Honing in on gender demographics, women had some of the greatest increases. High-risk consumption increased by 60 percent among them and alcohol use disorder rose 84 percent. In a news article, 2017 National Leadership Forum speaker George Koob, the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said: “The gap between women and men drinking has decreased. It used to be quite large.” From a cultural standpoint, Koob says he isn’t concerned about the increase in women’s alcohol consumption. However, women are particularly vulnerable to the physiological effects of alcohol, due to biological make-up.

In terms of age, researchers found that adults ages 65 years and older have seen a larger increase in alcohol consumption, with high-risk drinking rising by 65 percent and alcohol use disorders soaring to nearly 107 percent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the long-term health effects of heavy drinking include:

High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety Social problems, including lost productivity, family problems and unemployment

Data states that there is a stigma when discussing substance use and abuse. Researchers note that one solution may be more health care providers talking to their clients about drinking in a nonjudgmental way to help combat the problem.

Source: Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America

Original author: Ezra
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Friday, 22 February 2019

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