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Study showing increase in alcoholism may be flawed, say experts
Posted in Alcohol

The drinking culture is quite pronounced in the United States. A recent federal research concerning alcohol consumption shows that the number of Americans indulging in excessive consumption of alcohol has shot up dangerously. The study titled “Remarkable Increases in Alcohol Use Disorders” suggests that the rate of alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the country surged by over 49 percent between 2001-02 and 2012-13.

The findings of the study published online in the journal JAMA Psychiatry on August 2017, are pursuant to the evaluation of drinking patterns of tens of thousands of American adults. The study indicates a potential rise in alcohol use among American adults from roughly 65 percent to 72 percent during the period. The data also suggests that the number of adult Americans grappling with alcohol addiction has touched nearly 30 million.

Significantly, the JAMA Psychiatry study was sponsored by agencies like the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Also, researchers used data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) for the study.

Contrasting figures raise questions about validity of NESARC survey

Now, the findings of the NESARC study are being questioned as some experts claim that the numbers may be skewed owing to major methodological changes that had taken place from 2001 to 2013. Also, the new study contradicts the findings of another federal survey conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

In fact, the NSDUH survey has found a reduction in AUD rate. In 2002, 7.7 percent of Americans, aged 12 years and more, were found to be dependent on alcohol. The figures had dropped to 6.6 percent in 2013. Critics argued that the NESARC study had taken into consideration details of respondents aged 18 years and above.

“The NSDUH methods are much more consistent from year-to-year, and it is administered annually. So I tend to put more weight on NSDUH data,” Richard Grucza from the Washington University School of Medicine told Vox while comparing the results of the two surveys.

Experts also say that NESARC changed some questions asked in 2013 from those in 2001, which might lead participants to respond differently. Besides, Census Bureau workers were used in the first leg of the survey as against private workers during the 2012-13 survey. The experts claim that such changes could have a major impact on responses.

Seeking recovery from alcohol addiction

Despite the contradictory results of the two different surveys, there is no denying the fact that alcoholism is a major public health issue in the U.S. According to the NIAAA, nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually, making the substance the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the country.

Excessive use of anything can be dangerous, and the same applies to alcohol drinking habits too. Binge drinking can result in various problems, affecting physical as well as mental health of people with alcoholism. In addition, drinking habits fuel dependence on other illicit substances too. Here, one should remember that alcohol addiction is a disease and must not be looked upon as a moral flaw.

Sovereign Health of Texas understands the plight of someone suffering from addiction to any kind of harmful substances, including alcohol. Experts at our alcohol treatment centers provide evidence-based treatment to each patient according to his/her needs. You may contact our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives to learn more about our alcohol rehab centers in Texas.


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