People that are not alcoholic do not understand why an alcoholic can’t just “use a little willpower” to stop drinking. However, alcoholism has little to do with willpower. Alcoholics are in the grip of a powerful “craving,” or uncontrollable need, for alcohol that overrides their ability to stop drinking. This need can be as strong as the need for food or water.


The majority of alcoholics need couples rehab and are not able to recover on their own. With drug rehab and support, many individuals are able to stop drinking and rebuild their lives.


The 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) enables an examination of the rates of heavy alcohol use among young adults aged 18 to 25. Heavy alcohol use was defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion at least 5 different days in the month before the survey. The survey also examines the relationship between heavy alcohol use and the use of illicit drugs. “Any illicit drug” refers to the use of marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), inhalants, hallucinogens (including LSD and PCP), heroin, or any prescription-type psychotherapeutic used nonmedically during the 30 days prior to the interview.


According to the 1999 NHSDA, more than 13 percent of young adults aged 18 to 25 were heavy alcohol users (Figure 1). This percentage translates to approximately 4 million young adult heavy drinkers. The rate of heavy alcohol use among young adults aged 18 to 25 was higher than rates observed either for youths aged 12 to 17 (2 percent) or for adults aged 26 or older (5 percent).


Among young adults, men were more likely to be heavy drinkers (20 percent) than women (7 percent). Whites had the highest rate of heavy alcohol use (16 percent) of any racial/ethnic group, followed by American Indians/Alaska Natives and Hispanics (both at 10 percent), and blacks and Asians (both at 6 percent).

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