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. 2014 Mar;75(2):319-27.
doi: 10.15288/jsad.2014.75.319.

Risks of Alcohol Use Disorders Related to Drinking Patterns in the U.S. General Population

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Risks of Alcohol Use Disorders Related to Drinking Patterns in the U.S. General Population

Thomas K Greenfield et al. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the relations between drinking (mean quantity and heavy drinking patterns) and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) in the U.S. general population.

Method: Data from three telephone National Alcohol Surveys (in 2000, 2005, and 2010) were pooled, with separate analyses for men and women restricted to current drinkers (ns = 5,922 men, 6,270 women). Predictors were 12-month volume (mean drinks per day), rates of heavy drinking (5+/4+ drinks in a day for men/women), and very heavy drinking (8+, 12+, and 24+ drinks in a day). Outcomes were negative alcohol-related consequences constituting abuse (1+ of 4 DSM-IV-based domains assessed by 13 items) and alcohol dependence (symptoms in 3+ of 7 DSM-IV-based domains), together taken to indicate an AUD. Segmentation analyses were used to model risks of problem outcomes from drinking patterns separately by gender.

Results: In the general population, men and women who consumed ≤1 drink/day on average with no heavy drinking days did not incur substantial risks of an AUD (<10%). Men who drank from 1 to 2 drinks/day on average but never 5+ incurred a 16% risk of reporting an AUD (3.5% alcohol dependence). At higher volumes, men and women who indicated higher rates of drinking larger amounts per day and/or involving 8+ and 12+ drinks/day (and even 24+ drinks/day for men) showed much higher risks of experiencing AUDs.

Conclusions: The findings provide quantitative guidance for primary care practitioners who wish to make population-based recommendations to patients who might benefit by reducing both overall intake and amounts per occasion in an effort to lower their risks of developing AUDs.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Proportions of alcohol abuse and dependence by volume and heavy drinking, for male drinkers
Figure 2
Figure 2
Proportions of alcohol abuse and dependence by volume and heavy drinking, for female drinkers

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