Thursday, July 26, 2007

Why the scourge of alcoholism defies a cure--
30 percent of Americans abuse alcohol

By Howard Witt | Chicago Tribune senior correspondent
July 25, 2007

More than 30 percent of American adults have abused alcohol or suffered from alcoholism at some point in their lives, according to a new study released this month by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a branch of the National Institutes of Health.

Yet only a quarter of those afflicted received any treatment. And other studies show that, at best, only a quarter of those who seek treatment manage to abstain from alcohol for a year.

"Alcohol problems are not just something that affects Hollywood stars," said Dr. Robert Swift, a psychiatrist at Brown University who specializes in alcoholism. "We're talking about a chronic, relapsing condition. And we still have a long way to go in treatment. It's like treatment of cancer-some people can be helped but others just cannot."

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