Alcohol Problems

  • David C. HodginsEmail author
  • Katherine Diskin
  • Jonathan N. Stea


Alcohol problems can be broadly defined as negative consequences that people experience as a result of their use of alcohol. People may drink alcohol for a number of reasons: to promote feelings of relaxation, to increase feelings of sociability, to elevate mood, to conform to social expectations, or to reduce feelings of stress (Anonymous, 2000). Information from the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health for 2007 indicates that approximately 82% of adults (aged 12-years and older) surveyed reported alcohol use sometime during their lifetime, 66% reported they had used alcohol during the year preceding the survey, and 51% reported using alcohol in the 30 days preceding the survey.

As well as measuring frequency of alcohol use, the 2007 US National Survey on Drug Use and Health also included measures related to drinking quantity. The report stated that approximately 23% of the adults sampled engaged in binge drinking (consuming five or more drinks on a single occasion) in the 30 days preceding the survey and 7% engaged in heavy drinking (five or more binges during the preceding 30 days). These findings suggest that over 55.8 million adults were engaging in drinking at a level that is potentially problematic, and almost 17 million were engaging in even heavier and potentially more hazardous alcohol use. Essentially, then, there is at minimum a one in five chance that an adult encountered in clinical practice in the United States has engaged in at least one binge-drinking episode in the past 30 days. Alcohol problems are highly influenced by environmental exposure and cultural norms, thus there is considerable cross-cultural variation in the prevalence of alcohol problems. Nonetheless, despite the difference in prevalence rates, the expression of alcohol problems is similar across cultures (Helzer et al., 1990).


Alcohol Dependence Personality Disorder Withdrawal Symptom Binge Drinking Alcohol Problem 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • David C. Hodgins
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katherine Diskin
    • 1
  • Jonathan N. Stea
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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