Assessing Changes in Alcohol Use and Alcohol Use Disorder Prevalence in the United States

Evidence from National Surveys from 2002 Through 2014

Published in: JAMA Psychiatry, Volume 75, Number 2 (February 2018), Pages 211-213. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.4008

Posted on RAND.org on February 15, 2018

by Hui G. Cheng, Hamza Kaakarli, Joshua Breslau, James C. Anthony

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Grant et al have previously reported what they call "substantial increases" in 12-month prevalence estimates of alcohol use and alcohol use disorders, as defined by the DSM-IV based on a comparison of 2 surveys of the US adult population conducted about 10 years apart. They 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. We evaluated evidence of this trend in a concurrent series of 13 independently conducted, annual probability surveys of the US population from 2002 through 2014 on these same points and examined if and when any substantial increase in alcohol use and alcohol use disorder prevalence estimates occurred.

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