Americans just can’t seem to put down the bottle.
A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry tracked how drinking patterns in the United States changed between 2002 and 2013, using in-person surveys from thousands of adults.
It found that drinking rates of all groups of Americans increased — and some researchers are calling it a “public health crisis.”
Overall, the study found that drinking rates increased by 11 percent overall for Americans, with 75 percent of Americans admitting to having an alcoholic beverage in the past year in 2013.
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Women, older adults, racial minorities and those with lower levels of education and income experienced the greatest increase in drinking rates.
But that’s not what mostly concerned researchers. Instead, it was the marked uptick in “high-risk drinking.”
Researchers found that high-risk drinking — four drinks a day for a woman, and five for men — increased by about 30 percent between 2002 and 2013.
"Light drinking has been shown to be helpful for people’s health overall, but heavy drinking can lead to some harms and impairment," Deborah Hasin, the study's lead author and a Columbia University professor, said to Business Insider.
And it seems that both millennials and their grandparents are imbibing lots of alcohol.
There was a 14.2 percent uptick in high-risk drinking for those aged 18 to 29 and a 65.2 percent increase for those over 65.
These trends troubled researchers, who wrote "these findings portend increases in many chronic comorbidities in which alcohol use has a substantial role.”
High blood pressure, heart problems, strokes, cancer and infections can potentially be worsened or brought on by consuming too much alcohol, the researchers wrote.
So what is causing these increases?
Researchers aren’t exactly sure, but they believe the dramatic rise in drinking rates among women can be attributed to changing perceptions of female alcohol consumption. In other words, the women are just catching up to the men.
And growing disparities in income, education, employment and housing between whites and minorities may have led the latter to cope with alcohol, researchers suggested.
"People need to really take some of the information about the potential harms of heavy drinking into account when determining when and how much to drink," Hasin said. "Policymakers and health professionals need to be aware of this, too.”