A new study published last week finds that one in eight American adults qualifies as having a drinking disorder. According to the study published in JAMA Psychiatry, the rate of alcohol use disorder in the country rose nearly 50% from 2001 to 2013, the Washington Post reports. Currently, 12.7% of Americans meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder, which include whether booze interferes with individuals' jobs or family life and whether they struggle to stop.The 12.7% includes people who suffer from alcohol abuse and less severe alcohol dependence. The report's authors describe the results as a "public health crisis" that mirrors an increase in diseases and injuries "in which alcohol use has a substantial role," including cirrhosis and hypertension. The CDC estimates that excessive alcohol use leads to 88,000 American deaths a year.
Alcohol use disorders increased across the board but have hit certain groups harder than others, CNN reports. Among African-Americans the number increased nearly 93%, while disorders increased 84% among women. The group that saw the biggest jump, however, was senior citizens. There was a 106.7% increase in alcohol use disorders among people 65 and older. Researchers suggest the "generally much greater" increase of disorders among minorities could stem from growing economic inequality between whites and minorities, increasing "stress and demoralization," NPR reports. (Read more alcohol abuse stories.)