Fast Five Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Alcoholism?

Stephen Soreff, MD


January 26, 2017

Among younger individuals, such as college students, weekly or daily consumption of energy drinks (highly caffeinated beverages) has been strongly associated with alcohol dependence. This group is an important target population for alcohol-use disorder prevention.

Alcoholism is at least twice as prevalent in men as it is in women. In the US National Comorbidity Survey, it was 2.5 times more prevalent in men than in women. Although more common in males, females often develop a more serious and detrimental form of alcoholism. According to the survey, the lifetime prevalence was 20% in men and 8% in women. For alcohol abuse or dependence in the past year, the rates were 10% for men and 4% for women.

The prevalence of alcoholism declines with increasing age. The prevalence in elderly populations is unclear but is probably approximately 3%.

The two largest studies, the US National Comorbidity Survey and the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Survey, both showed a lower prevalence of alcoholism in black Americans than in white Americans. The prevalence was equal or higher in Hispanic Americans compared with white Americans.

For more on the background of alcoholism, read here.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.