Number of Danes with an alcohol problem
26.04.2023 - A new study by the Danish State Institute of Public Health has revealed that approximately 400,000 Danish adults exhibit signs of moderate alcohol problems, while around 67,000 show signs of severe alcohol issues. Despite these alarming figures, the number of adults with severe alcohol problems has decreased over the past decade.
Professor and alcohol researcher Ulrik Becker attributes the decline to public health campaigns and the implementation of alcohol consumption limits by the Danish Health Authority. "It's moving in the right direction," he says. "Even though I wish the decrease had been larger, there is a clear and positive trend."
The study was based on the CAGE-C alcohol screening tool, which has proven effective in identifying individuals with alcohol problems. The CAGE-C tool has been validated in Denmark and is significantly shorter than other screening methods, making it easier to implement in population studies.
The data for the study was drawn from the National Health Profile (NATSUP), which has been collecting data on alcohol issues for many years. However, this is the first time the number of Danes with alcohol problems has been estimated using the CAGE-C tool. The analysis found a clear correlation between CAGE-C scores and general mortality, alcohol-related mortality, and alcohol-related morbidity.
The results from NATSUP show that the proportion of citizens with signs of moderate and severe alcohol problems decreased between 2010 and 2021. The decline is mainly attributed to a lower prevalence among men and those aged 45-64. For women, the rate of moderate alcohol problems remained stable, while there was a slight increase in the rate of severe alcohol problems.
The study also highlights that the number of people receiving publicly funded alcohol treatment in 2018 was about 50,000 lower than the number of people with severe alcohol problems. This suggests that a large number of individuals may not be receiving the treatment they need.
The report will be followed by another study estimating the number of children in Denmark living in families with alcohol abuse. Such issues can have significant consequences for both children and adults in affected families.
The researchers propose that future monitoring of alcohol problems should be based on the CAGE-C tool in national health profiles, as it has been validated and adapted for the Danish context.
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