Alcohol use is very common in the United States, and so is alcohol use disorder (AUD). A 2017 study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that 1 in 8 Americans has AUD.
The same study found that the prevalence of AUD rose by 50% between 2003 and 2013. The number of people struggling with alcohol use has increased even more during the pandemic; in 2020, nearly 1 in 10 women experienced an increase in alcohol-related problems.
In the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than a quarter of Americans 18 or older reported past-month binge drinking. That same survey found that an estimated 414,000 adolescents aged 12-17 had AUD.
The DSM-5—the latest version of the main text for diagnosing mental health disorders—has 11 criteria for diagnosing alcohol use disorder. Meeting two or three symptoms is considered mild AUD, 4 to 5 is moderate, and 6 or more severe. Those symptoms are:
-Drinking more or over a longer period than intended.
-Trying to moderate alcohol use without success.
-Spending a lot of time obtaining, drinking, or recovering from the effects of alcohol.
-Having alcohol cravings.
-Failing to meet personal, professional, or academic responsibilities due to drinking.
-Continuing to drink despite social or interpersonal problems.
-Giving up or reducing participation in important social, professional, or recreational activities because of alcohol use.
-Drinking in physically dangerous situations (such as driving while drunk).
-Continuing to drink despite knowledge of physical or psychological problems caused by alcohol.
-Having tolerance, meaning either needing more alcohol to become intoxicated or feeling diminished effects when drinking the same amount as before.
-Experiencing withdrawal or drinking to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
Despite the prevalence of AUD, only 7.9% of adults who have it receive treatment. That number drops to 5% among youth who have AUD.
If you are struggling with an alcohol use disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you build the coping skills to thrive in long-term recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.