The Addiction Shared By 1/3 Of Americans, According To Research

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friends drinking alcohol

Well, America, it's time to face it: you have a drinking problem.

According to a 2018 study published in JAMA Psychiatry, one-third of American adults have a drinking problem — and many of them aren't doing much about it.

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Only 19.8 percent of these people get treatment.

The study came to these conclusions after conducting 36,000 interviews with people who took the 2012-2013 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions III.

Researchers then looked into the participants' alcohol use, drug use, and psychiatric conditions.

In the end, 14 percent of adults had all the signs of an alcohol use disorder due to their actions in the past year.

Overall, 29.1 percent had signs of an alcohol use disorder at some point in their lives — and only 19.8 percent actually sought treatment.

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Want some more disturbing statistics? According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 28.6 million adults ages 18 and older (11.3% in this age group) had AUD in 2021. Among youth, an estimated 894,000 adolescents ages 12 to 17 (3.4% of this age group) had AUD during this time frame.

But what exactly is an "alcohol use disorder?"

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, it includes things like drinking more than you intended, craving alcohol, getting to the point where your drinking affects your relationships, and more.

There are 11 questions you can answer for yourself to see if you meet the criteria.

What can cause AUD?

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The biggest one is drinking at an early age. A national survey found that among people ages 26 and older, those who began drinking before age 15 were more than three times as likely to report having AUD in the past year as those who waited until age 21 or later to begin drinking, and the risk for females in this group is higher than that of males.

Another one is genetics and a family history of alcohol problems. Genetics play a role, with hereditability accounting for approximately 60%; however, like other chronic health conditions, AUD risk is influenced by both a person’s genes and their environment. Parents’ drinking patterns may also influence the likelihood that a child will one day develop AUD.

Sadly, this is probably only growing. Researchers saw a growth in people with this disorder over the past decade.

The study says it's specifically hitting men, young people, white people, Native American people, and people who have never been married or have been previously married.

Hopefully, this research will lead to more people becoming aware of the signs and seeking help.

RELATED: 10 Early Signs Of Alcoholism You Should Never, Ever Ignore

Nicole Weaver is a senior writer for Showbiz Cheat Sheet whose work has been featured in New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, and more.