One in five Australians - some 3.5 million people - will experience problems of alcohol abuse and dependence during their lifetime, but few seek treatment, a new study from UNSW's National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre has found.
The report, published online in the journal Addiction and launched at the NDARC Annual Symposium, provides the first ever lifetime estimates of alcohol problems in Australia.
The study analysed data from the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. It found 22 per cent of Australians will have an alcohol use disorder, either alcohol abuse (18 per cent) or dependence (4 per cent), over their lifetime - with nearly a third of men experiencing a problem at some time.
Young men were two and a half times more likely to have current alcohol use problems than the rest of the population.
Lead author of the report, NDARC's Professor Maree Teesson said it was alarming that in the 10 years since the last National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing the number of people with problems remained so high and that so few were receiving treatment.
"One reason for the lack of treatment is that alcohol problems still have a terrible stigma about them.
"People are much less likely to want to own up to having a problem with alcohol than they are about other physical or mental illnesses, yet their abuse of alcohol has serious consequences," Professor Teesson said.
For further details, visit the NDARC website.
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