CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, Americans are drinking a lot more.
JAMA's new study found one in eight Americans struggle with alcohol abuse.
Addiction specialists say this problem needs a lot more attention than it's getting.
When it comes to alcohol abuse in America, the numbers are staggering.
Nearly one in four Americans under age 30 struggle with alcohol abuse.
Overall, one in eight Americans struggle with alcohol abuse.
The study tracked the drinking patterns of 40,000 people for two years and found alcohol disorders rose by almost 50 percent.
That means almost 30 million Americans are struggling with alcohol abuse.
Jim Joyner is a chemical dependency counselor with Joyner and Associates LLC based in Cleveland.
He is on a mission to help people fight addiction to drugs and alcohol.
And he knows what it takes.
"It's been 36 years since I used alcohol or mood altering chemicals," he said.
He's not surprised by the study's results.
Joyner says most people think they can spot an alcoholic, but addiction is often hidden in plain sight.
"They picture that homeless, jobless skid row bum. And reality is, majority of alcoholics and chemically-dependent people are employed, full- or part-time and don't exhibit this stereotypical picture," he said.
For many people, having a drink or two isn't just a relaxing way to unwind. It can trigger addiction.
Joyner says the first step to fighting the problem seems simple.
"If there's any one thing we can do, factual education is probably the best form of prevention. And it needs to be not just elementary kids, but across the board," he said.
The study found alcohol disorders increased greatly in women and minorities.
But the group that saw the highest increase in alcohol abuse disorders may surprise you -- senior citizens.
People 65 and older saw a nearly 110 percent increase in alcohol use disorders from 2002 to 2013.