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Third of Americans Have Alcohol Problems at Some Point

One expert thinks lack of awareness of alcohol problems and treatment options remains a serious problem.

"There is not so much new data here but rather an update on findings that we've known about for some time...," said Dr. James Garbutt, a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina.

Most troubling is that only about 24 percent of those with alcohol dependence receive treatment, Garbutt noted. "The findings speak to the continued lack of adequate awareness and treatment of these disorders and the devastating consequences this has for public health," he said.

Another expert agreed that the gap in treatment is the most serious issue highlighted by the study.

"The most important finding of this study is the lack of progress in improving delivery of treatment to individuals with alcohol-use disorders," said Dr. Adam Bisaga, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and addiction psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, both in New York City.

"This occurs despite significant advances in research describing brain abnormalities contributing to the development and maintenance of alcoholism and availability of several medications and psychotherapies that are effective in reducing burden of these frequently occurring disorders," Bisaga said.

More information

For more information on alcohol abuse, visit the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

SOURCES: Bridget F. Grant, Ph.D., chief, Laboratory of Epidemiology and Biometry, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, Md.; James Garbutt, M.D., professor, psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Adam Bisaga, M.D., assistant professor, psychiatry, Columbia University, and addiction psychiatrist, New York State Psychiatric Institute, both in New York City; July 2007,Archives of General Psychiatry


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