Only 1.2% of Alcohol Abusers Know They Need Help: Report

National Alcohol Screening Day spotlights untreated disorders affecting millions of Americans

THURSDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- A new report reveals that 98.8 percent of the more than 7.4 million American adults aged 21 to 64 with untreated alcohol abuse disorders don't believe they need treatment.

And only 7.8 percent (506,000) of the nearly 6 million American adults with untreated alcohol dependence recognize that they need treatment.

The finding shows the need to increase public awareness about adult problem drinking, how to identify people with an alcohol problem, how to raise the issue with a problem drinker and how to get help, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

SAMHSA released the report Thursday in conjunction with National Alcohol Screening Day. The findings are based on data from SAMHSA's 2006-2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health.

People with alcohol abuse disorders have drinking-related behaviors that put themselves or others in physical danger, lead to trouble with the law, and cause problems at work or in relationships, according to information in a news release from SAMHSA.

Alcohol dependence is a more serious disorder that features alcohol addiction, inability to reduce or stop drinking, and repeated problems with relationships, work or school, the experts explained.

The report "provides striking evidence that millions of Americans are in serious denial regarding problem drinking," SAMHSA administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in the news release.

"Individuals, friends and family members clearly need help and support in confronting and doing something about the problem. Without help, alcoholism can be fatal. As a nation we need to ask ourselves why we stand by and allow so many people to self-destruct before intervening. National Alcohol Screening Day provides one day to have the conversation we should be willing to have every day until screening for alcohol problems becomes the norm -- just like heart disease, cancer and diabetes," she said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more about alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, news release, April 7, 2011

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