Three out of ten Americans suffer some form of alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction during their lives, according to a new study of drinking and dependency.
Some 12.5 percent of more than 43,000 people surveyed reported having succumbed to alcohol dependence during their lives, including 3.8 percent who had had the problem during the year prior to the 2001-2002 survey.
In addition, researchers led by Deborah Hasin of Columbia University Medical Center in New York found that 17.8 percent of all those questioned reported having experienced alcohol abuse during their lives.
They found that alcohol abuse began on average at the age of 22.5 years, and dependence on average began earlier, at 21.9.
But the average age at which people first got treatment for dependence was 29.8 years.
"Alcohol dependence was significantly more prevalent among men, whites, Native Americans, younger and unmarried adults and those with lower incomes," the study's authors wrote in a summary of the study, which is published in the July issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.