Here are some key statistics about alcohol use disorders in the United States. Bad, Worse, and Worst.
Bad: Heavy alcohol use in 7%
The term “heavy drinking” means drinking 5 or more drinks per day on 5 or more days in a month. About 7% of adults in the US had engaged in heavy drinking in the previous month. Heavy drinking is not by itself considered to be an alcohol use disorder.
Worse: Alcohol use disorder in 7%
Of adults in the US, 7% had an alcohol use disorder in 2013.
Worst: 88,000 alcohol-related deaths every year
Nearly 88,000 people (about 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes in the US every year. That is more than twice the number of suicides each year.
About one-thirds (31%) of driving-related deaths are attributable to alcohol.
Alcohol is one of the leading preventable causes of death in the United States.
What can we do?
1. We should screen everyone we see for alcohol use problems and clearly identify binge drinking, heavy drinking, and alcohol-use disorder
2. Treat energetically. Consider medications known to help with alcohol use disorder. These medications are massively underutilized. That is, only a small fraction of the people who could benefit from these medications are ever have them prescribed to them.
3. Treat effectively. Going to generic “rehab” (often several times) is much less effective than one would expect. We need to identify and use more effective psychosocial treatments.
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended for general educational purposes only. It is NOT intended as a substitute for medical advice. Patients must ask the clinicians treating them, Dr. Mago or others, for advice specific to their situation.