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Rate of Alcohol Abuse Disorders in America Higher than Presumed

Update Date: Nov 27, 2013 12:12 PM EST

Alcohol is an addictive substance that leads to impaired cognitive functions and motor skills. Even though most people consume alcohol in social settings, some people consume alcohol regardless of the time of day and without any reasons. These people suffer from alcohol abuse disorders. According to a new report, the number of people living in the United States who suffer from alcohol abuse disorders is higher than previously believed.

For this study, the researchers headed by Jürgen Rehm, Ph.D., director of social and epidemiology research at the Center of Addiction and Mental Health at the University of Toronto in Canada, conducted meta-analyses and estimated a greater number of people with alcohol use disorders (AUD). The researchers used data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions and the burden of disease study of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The team stated that in 2005, around 53,000 men and 12,000 women died due to AUD. AUD is responsible for roughly three percent of deaths in Americans aged 18 and older.

"We had done meta-analyses on AUD before and knew it would be higher than previous literature, but we did not expect the burden for disease to be so high," Rehm said according to Medical Xpress.

Based on several studies conducted in the past, excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to over 200 diseases or injuries. The researchers also found that AUD contributed greatly to people's years lived with disability (YLD). YLD affected 1,785,000 men and 658,000 women in 2005.

"But the problem is everyone in the field defines AUD, a fairly new term, differently. For example, alcohol can lead to morbidity such as in traffic accidents, but this may have nothing to do with addiction, abuse and dependence," stated Stuart Gitlow, M.D., psychiatrist and president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. "There needs to be restrictions on the availability of alcohol. Increases in taxation or bans of advertisements are not part of health care, and this is part of the problem."

The study was published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

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