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Drinking Over the Lifespan: Focus on College Ages

Approximately 41 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds are enrolled in a postsecondary degree-granting institution (National Center for Education Statistics 2013). As a group, college students, and particularly those at residential colleges (Presley et al. 2002), often drink heavily and experience myriad associated negative consequences. This selective review discusses the special characteristics of...

Age, Period, and Cohort Effects in Alcohol Use in the United States in the 20th and 21st Centuries: Implications for the Coming Decades

Introduction

Alcohol consumption, including any alcohol use; patterns of high-risk use, including binge drinking; and alcohol use disorder (AUD) incidence and prevalence, differs substantially over time and by life stage. Variation also occurs across demographic groups, and such differences themselves vary across time and place. In the first quarter of the 21st century, changes in incidence and...

Alcohol Consumption in Demographic Subpopulations: An Epidemiologic Overview

Alcohol consumption is common across diverse populations in the United States; however, the level of consumption and its consequences vary considerably across major demographic subgroups. This review presents findings on the distribution and determinants of alcohol use and its aspects (i.e., age of onset, abstention vs. any drinking, binge drinking, and heavy drinking), alcohol abuse and depende...

Epidemiology of Recovery From Alcohol Use Disorder

Almost one-third of the U.S. population meets alcohol use disorder (AUD) criteria on a lifetime basis. This review provides an overview of recent research on the prevalence and patterns of alcohol-related improvement and selectively reviews nationally representative surveys and studies that followed risk groups longitudinally with a goal of informing patients with AUD and AUD researchers...

Drinking Across the Lifespan: Focus on Older Adults

In 2010, when the leading edge of the post–World War II “Baby Boom” reached age 65, the United States began a period of increased growth in its older adult population. By 2030, it is expected that there will be 72.1 million adults age 65 or older living in the United States, almost double the 2008 population. Those older adults will represent 19.3 percent of the U.S. population, compared with 12...

Relationships of Cannabis Policy Liberalization With Alcohol Use and Co-Use With Cannabis: A Narrative Review

Introduction

For the past 25 years, a growing number of U.S. states have been progressively legalizing cannabis markets, first through the early adoption of medical cannabis laws, which enabled the purchase and possession of cannabis for specific medicinal purposes, and then more recently through laws regarding adult (i.e., “recreational”) use of cannabis. As of May 2021, more than 70% of U.S...

Alcohol and Cannabis Use and the Developing Brain

Introduction

Adolescence is marked by significant social, emotional, cognitive, and physical changes, as individuals transition from childhood to adulthood. Although the exact definition of adolescence tends to vary, recent findings regarding adolescent development and growth include individuals between the ages of 10 and 24.1 Consistent with this defined age range, the human brain continues to...

Gender Differences in the Epidemiology of Alcohol Use and Related Harms in the United States

Over the past century, differences in alcohol use and related harms between males and females in the United States have diminished considerably. In general, males still consume more alcohol and experience and cause more alcohol-related injuries and deaths than females do, but the gaps are narrowing. Among adolescents and emerging adults, gaps in drinking have narrowed primarily because alcohol use...

“Maturing Out” of Binge and Problem Drinking

This article reviews literature aiming to explain the widespread reductions in binge and problem drinking that begin around the transition to young adulthood (i.e., “maturing out”). Whereas most existing literature on maturing out emphasizes contextual effects of transitions into adult roles and responsibilities, this article also reviews recent work demonstrating further effects of young adult...

Adolescent Binge Drinking

Binge drinking, commonly defined as consuming five or more standard drinks per occasion for men and four or more drinks for women, typically begins in adolescence. Adolescents, although they may drink less often, tend to consume higher quantities of alcohol per occasion compared with adults. This developmental difference in pattern of alcohol consumption may result, in part, from maturational...