Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Millennials are drinking more and so are their grandparents, new study shows

Melissa Porter | 12 August, 2017, 02:56

- Continued drinking despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to be caused or exacerbated by drinking. In particular, he pointed out that growing alcohol use disorders join the opioid epidemic as a broader societal struggle with substance-related problems.

A new report in the Jama Psychiatry Journal says 30 million adults are binge drinking at least once a week. But after that point, drinking rates started to rise significantly, with high-risk drinking rising slightly. According to the study, high-risk drinking increased in women by 60%, and only 15% for men.

And among older adults, abuse and dependence more than doubled. But with increased drinking comes increased health consequences - so much so that researchers are calling it a public health crisis.

Among the ailments the researchers cite are: fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, liver cirrhosis, several types of cancer and infections, pancreatitis, type 2 diabetes, and various injuries.

Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, heavy drinking increased across all demographic groups.

Increases in alcohol abuse were greatest among women, older adults, racial/ethnic minorities, and individuals with lower educational level and family income.

The new findings are based on face-to-face interviews with nationally representative samples of adults in 2001-2002 and 2012-2013.

If you find yourself reaching for a glass of rosé or a dirty martini after the end of a long work-week (or workday), you're definitely not alone. High-risk drinking overall rose by 29.9 percent. The increases were especially steep for women, minorities and those over 65 (see graph).

Women showed an 83.7 percent increase in alcohol use disorders in the time frame, and individuals who were 45 years to 64 years, and 65 years and older had 81.5 and 106.7 increases in the disorders respectively.

Though the study's authors note that their findings have some limitations - they did not survey anyone from homeless or incarcerated populations, for instance, which could mean they potentially underestimated the overall rates of alcohol use - the study notes that its findings are in line with other similar research.

If the more sensitive data used in the current study is indeed more accurate, there's one final caveat to note: the study's data only go through 2013. But a 2013 study found that alcoholic beverages are more affordable in the United States now than at any time since 1950. Alcohol is widely available and advertisements send the message that "you cannot imagine that anybody can exist without alcohol", he says. In fact, there are more people like you now than in the past. In Canada, there is a minimum price for alcohol, and when that price has gone up, health problems and hospitalizations related to alcohol have gone down, he says.

"Policymakers and health professionals need to be aware of this, too", she added. Plus, the authors also highlighted the financial burden that's associated with heavy drinkers. "Clearly, alcohol does not get the necessary attention given the problems it causes", says Rehm. High-risk drinking ticked up from 20.2 million Americans to 29.6 million Americans during this period, and those diagnosed with alcohol use disorder rose from 17.6 million to 29.9 million Americans.

Though alcohol use reportedly remained stagnant or declined from the 1970s to 1990s, previous studies had reported it increasing in the '90s to early 2000s, and other studies have similarly reflected a narrowing of the gap in alcohol use among women versus men.