Australian's problematic drinking rates are on par with New Zealand and the US, and well above other developed countries such as France, Spain and Germany.

According to a study conducted by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at the Uni

versity of NSW, a total of 18 per cent of Australians will go through phases of problematic alcohol drinking in their lifetime and 4 per cent will become alcoholics.

The majority of problematic drinkers - who are unable to perform duties at home or work, or have alcohol-related fights with a spouse or problems with the law - were young men and of these men, less than one in five would seek any form of professional help, said Professor Maree Teesson.

Prof Teesson said, One reason for the lack of treatment is that alcohol problems still have a terrible stigma about them.

She said people are less likely to admit they have alcohol addiction problems than they are about other physical or mental illness - although their abuse of alcohol is significantly problematic.

The problematic behaviors include getting into fights, drink driving, taking time from work, child neglect and getting into fights with police and driving while drunk, said Prof Teesson.

Better intervention or prevention strategies are required to help young Australian men who abuse alcohol, she said.

From the data gather of nearly 9,000 Australians aged 16 to 85 years old, Prof Teesson and colleagues found that one third of Australian men will experience a drinking problem at some point in their lives, almost double the rate of alcohol abuse among women.

The findings also found that married people and those of a non-English speaking background were less likely to indulge in alcohol abuse.

Men born during the ten years to 1987 were 1.7 more likely to indulge in risky drinking behaviors compared to men born a decade earlier.

Mental illness was also reported in more than 40 per cent of those who abused alcohol, and comparison with a similar study conducted ten years ago revealed no improvement.

The study reports ended in conclusion stating that prevalence rates for alcohol use disorders in Australia are some of the highest ... worldwide and ... treatment rates were unacceptably low.