January 04, 2018
1 min read

Prevalence of alcohol use disorder not increasing in the US

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact customerservice@slackinc.com.

The rate of alcohol use and alcohol use disorders did not significantly increase among adults in the U.S. between 2002 and 2014, according to a research letter published in JAMA Psychiatry.

“[Prior research] found that the prevalence of alcohol use increased from 65.4% to 72.7% of the surveyed population between the periods 2001-2002 and 2012-2013; the prevalence of alcohol use disorders increased from 8.5% to 12.7% of the surveyed population in the same time frame,” Hui G. Cheng, PhD, from the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at Michigan State University, and colleagues wrote.

To examine this trend, researchers analyzed data from the National Surveys of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) between 2002 and 2014. They evaluated whether prevalence of alcohol use and alcohol use disorder increased significantly, and determined year-specific estimates of each specified health behavior or condition.

Over the 13-year study period, year-specific sample sizes varied from 36,370 to 41,671 individuals. From 2002 through 2014, researchers observed relatively stable 12-month alcohol drinking, alcohol dependence, and nondependent alcohol abuse prevalence estimates. When comparing estimates for 2012 and 2013 with the 2002 estimate, they saw no noteworthy changes in prevalence estimates for alcohol drinking and alcohol dependence, but saw a smaller prevalence estimate for nondependent alcohol abuse. Examination of alcohol-drinking prevalence showed that the estimated annual percentage increment was 0.2% with an estimated 10-year cumulative increment of 2%.

“We conclude that prevalence estimates derived from these NSDUH data do not confirm the epidemiological hypothesis that the prevalence of alcohol use or alcohol use disorder ... substantially increased among U.S. adults during the first decade of the 21st century,” Cheng and colleagues wrote. “Resolution of contradictory results of the type seen here calls for the collaboration of epidemiologists and survey methodologists.” – by Savannah Demko

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.