Most Excessive Drinkers Don't Meet Alcohol Dependence Criteria

the MPR take:

Although it is often believed that most adults who engage in excessive alcohol consumption are alcohol dependent, a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 90% of adult excessive drinkers do not meet the criteria for alcohol dependence. Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from 2009, 2010, and 2011 was used to estimate rates of excessive drinking and the prevalence of alcohol dependence among U.S. adults based on patterns of drinking. Excessive drinking was defined as the following: binge drinking; heavy drinking; any past 30-day drinking by respondents aged 18–20 if not already included in another drinking category; or any past 30-day alcohol consumption by pregnant women. Alcohol dependence was defined as past-year drinking, three or more (of seven dependence criteria, and consuming at least one drink on six or more days in the past 12 months. Prevalence of past-year drinking among adults was 70.5% (95% CI, 70.0%–70.9%), prevalence of past-month excessive drinking was 29.3% (95% CI, 28.9%–29.7%), prevalence of past-month binge drinking was 27.4% (95% CI, 27.0%–27.8%), and prevalence of DSM-IV alcohol dependence among all respondents was 3.5% (95% CI, 3.3%–3.6%). When evaluated by drinking pattern, prevalence of alcohol dependence was 10.2% (95% CI, 9.8%–10.6%) among excessive drinkers, 10.5% (95% CI, 10.1%–11.0%) among binge drinkers, and 1.3% (95% CI, 1.2%–1.5%) among non-binge drinkers. Reducing excessive alcohol use by implementing policy strategies and clinical preventive services may be effective in reducing excessive alcohol use and related harms vs. strategies focused on implementation of addiction treatment services alone.

Most Excessive Drinkers Don't Meet Alcohol Dependence Criteria
Prevalence of alcohol dependence among US adult binge drinkers, by binge drinking frequency during the past 30 days.

Excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for 88,000 deaths annually and cost the United States $223.5 billion in 2006. It is often assumed that most excessive drinkers are alcohol dependent. However, few studies have examined the prevalence of alcohol dependence among excessive drinkers.

READ FULL ARTICLE From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention