Alcoholism affects people from all walks of life. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), more than 80,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths each year in the United States. And alcohol continues to be one of the nation’s most preventable causes of death, second only to tobacco and a poor diet/sedentary lifestyle.1
Alcoholism has a profound effect on the entire body, especially the brain, heart, pancreas, mouth, liver and immune system. In spite of its negative impact, more Americans than ever before consume alcohol on a regular basis.2 Understanding the dangers of alcohol abuse and its impact on society can help you and your loved ones make healthier choices.
General Alcohol Statistics
- Alcohol poisoning kills six people every day. Of those, 76 percent are adults ages 35-64, and three of every four people killed by alcohol poisoning are men.3
- The group with the most alcohol poisoning deaths per million people is American Indians/Alaska Natives (49.1 per 1 million).4
- Alcohol-impaired driving accounts for more than 30 percent of all driving fatalities each year.1
- More than 15 million people struggle with an alcohol use disorder in the United States, but less than eight percent of those receive treatment.1
- More than 65 million Americans report binge drinking in the past month, which is more than 40 percent of the total of current alcohol users.5
- Teen alcohol use kills 4,700 people each year. That’s more than all illegal drugs combined.6
Drunk driving costs the United States $199 billion every year.6
- Kids who start drinking young are seven times more likely to be in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident.6
Alcohol and Women
- More than 45 percent of adult women report drinking alcohol in the last month, and 12 percent of these report binge drinking.7
- About two-and-a-half percent of women who drink meet the criteria for alcohol dependence.7
- Approximately one in two women of child-bearing age drink, and 18 percent of women in this group binge drink (five drinks per binge, on average).7
- Excessive drinking can interrupt the menstrual cycle and lead to infertility.7
- Women who binge drink are more likely to have unprotected sex, increasing the risk of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.7
- Women who drink while pregnant increase the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause mental and physical birth defects.7
- Binge drinking dramatically increases the risk of sexual assault on women, especially those living in a college setting.7
Alcohol and Men
- Nearly 60 percent of adult men report drinking in the last month; 23 percent of these report binge drinking five times per month (eight drinks per binge, on average).8
- Men are twice as likely to binge drink as women.8
- Approximately four-and-a-half percent of men met the criteria for alcohol dependence in the last year.8
- Men are nearly twice as likely as women to have been intoxicated behind the wheel or involved in fatal motor vehicle traffic accidents.8
- Excessive drinking in men increases aggression, raising the risk of physical assault on another person.8
- Men are more likely than women to commit suicide while under the influence of alcohol.8
- Excessive alcohol use is a common factor in sexual assault. It also increases a man’s risk of engaging in unprotected sex and sex with multiple partners, which increases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.8
- Alcohol use increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver and colon in men.8
Signs of Alcohol Abuse
Knowing the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse is an important part of getting help. If you suspect someone you love is struggling with an alcohol use disorder, WebMD recommends looking for the following warning signs:
- Problems at work or school because of drinking
- Engaging in dangerous activities, such as driving, while drinking
- Blacking out and not being able to remember what happened while you were drinking
- Legal problems, such as being arrested or harming someone else while drunk
- Continuing to drink in spite of health problems that are made worse by alcohol (e.g. liver disease, heart disease, diabetes)
- Friends and family members who are worried about your drinking 9
Finding Help for Alcohol Abuse
If you or a loved one exhibits any of the common warning signs of alcoholism, contact us to learn about what options you have (855-894-3703). Depending on the severity, you may only need an outpatient program. Please don't stop alcohol abuse abruptly. It is a risk to one's life. You or your loved one needs someone to help you through the process. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions.
1. “Alcohol Facts and Statistics.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, June 2017.
2. Domonoske, Camila. “Drinking on the Rise in US, Especially for Women, Minorities, Older Adults.” NPR, August 10, 2017.
3. Bernstein, Larry. “Six people die each day of alcohol poisoning and most are middle-aged white men, CDC reports.” The Washington Post, January 6, 2015.
4. “Vital Signs: Alcohol Poisoning Deaths — United States, 2010–2012.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January 9, 2015.
5. Ahrnsbrak, Rebecca, et al. Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, September 2017.
6. “Statistics.” MADD, Accessed December 31, 2017.
7. “Fact Sheets - Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Women's Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 7, 2016.
8. “Fact Sheets - Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Men's Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 7, 2016.
9. “Substance Abuse and Addiction - Symptoms.” WebMD, Accessed January 9, 2018.
By Patti Richards