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January 11, 2023
An alcohol problem can affect anyone at any age. Many factors, including job stress, genetics or depression, may contribute to the start of disordered drinking.
Drinking alcohol exists on a continuum. For example, if someone feels down in the dumps for some time, it doesn’t mean they are clinically depressed. So if someone goes through a period with above-normal alcohol consumption, it doesn’t necessarily mean they abuse alcohol.
Although “alcoholic” and “alcoholism” are common, they are not clinical descriptions. Alcohol use disorder is the preferred term. Symptoms are often mild but can be the start of a more significant problem. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), over 16 million adults live with alcohol use disorder.
If you're worried about alcohol overuse, consult a doctor or addiction service. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has 24/7 helpline available for treatment referrals: 1-800-662-HELP (4357).