Alcoholism affects people from all walks of life. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 88,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths each year in the United States.1 And alcohol continues to be one of the nation’s most preventable causes of death, second only to tobacco and a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle.
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
- In 2018, there were 10,511 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, totaling 29% of all traffic fatalities for the year. 3
- An estimated 15 million people struggle with an alcohol use disorder in the United States, but less than 10% of them receive treatment.4
- More than 65 million Americans report binge drinking in the past month, which is more than 40% 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.8
- Drunk driving costs the United States more than $199 billion every year.6
Alcohol and Women
- According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 5.3 million women ages 18 and older have an alcohol use disorder.7
- Approximately one in two women of child-bearing age drink, and 18% of women in this group binge drink (five drinks per binge, on average).8
- 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.8
- Women who drink while pregnant increase the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause mental and physical birth defects.8
- Binge drinking dramatically increases the risk of sexual assault on women, especially those living in a college setting.8
- More than 45% of adult women report drinking alcohol in the last month, and 12% of these report binge drinking.8
- Alcohol abuse disorder in women has increased by 83.7% between 2002 and 2013, according to a 2017 study sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).9
- High-risk drinking, defined as more than three drinks in a day or seven in a week for women, is on the rise among women by about 58%, according to a 2017 study comparing habits from 2001-2002 and 2012-2013.9
- Death from liver cirrhosis rose in women from 2000 to 2013.9
Alcohol and Men
- Nearly 60% of adult men report drinking in the last month; 23% of these report binge drinking five times per month (eight drinks per binge, on average).9
- Men are twice as likely to binge drink as women.10
- Approximately 8.4% of men met the criteria for alcohol dependence in the last year.10
- Men are nearly twice as likely as women to have been intoxicated behind the wheel or involved in fatal motor vehicle traffic accidents.10
- Excessive drinking in men increases aggression, raising the risk of physical assault on another person.10
- Men are more likely than women to die by suicide while under the influence of alcohol.10
- 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.10
- Alcohol use increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon in men.10
- Nearly 60% of adult men report drinking in the last month.10
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 drinking11
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 your options at 678-251-3189. Depending on the severity, you or your loved one may only need an outpatient program. Please don’t stop alcohol abuse abruptly. To do so is to put your life at risk. You need someone to help you through the process. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions.
By Patti Richards
1CDC Fact Sheet: Alcohol Use and Your Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. December 30, 2019. Accessed April 8, 2020.
2Domonoske, Camila. Drinking on the Rise in US, Especially for Women, Minorities, Older Adults. NPR. August 10, 2017.
32018 Data: Alcohol-Impaired Driving National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. December 2019
4Alcohol Use Disorder National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Accessed April 8, 2020.
5Ahrnsbrak, 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.” Mothers Against Drunk Driving MADD. Accessed December 31, 2017.
7Alcohol Facts and Statistics. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. August 2018.
8Fact Sheets – Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Women’s Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. March 7, 2016.
9Jennifer Clopton. Alcohol Consumption Among Women is on the Rise. WebMD, July 18, 2018.
10Fact Sheets – Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Men’s Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. March 7, 2016.
11Substance Abuse and Addiction – Symptoms. WebMD Accessed January 9, 2018.