What proportion of Australians has met the diagnostic criteria for an alcohol disorder at some time in their life?

Approximately 19% of the Australian population has met the diagnostic criteria for harmful alcohol use and approximately 4% have met the diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence at some time in their life.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (2008). 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of results.

Dependence: A maladaptive pattern of use in which the use of drugs or alcohol takes on a much higher priority for a person than other behaviours that once had greater value. The central characteristic is the strong, sometimes overpowering, desire to take the substance despite significant substance-related problems.

Harmful Use: A pattern of use of alcohol or drugs that is responsible for (or substantially contributes to) physical or psychological harm, including impaired judgement or dysfunctional behaviour.