Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Consumption Statistics in the US

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a mental health problem that affects a significant percentage of the U.S. population. This disorder is characterized by continued excessive consumption of alcohol, despite the associated physical and psychological consequences of this behavior. Individuals who suffer from AUD often experience cravings and may even attempt to hide their drinking from others. It can also lead to physical problems such as liver disease, stroke, high blood pressure, an increased risk for certain cancers, and malnutrition, among other issues.15

In addition to these physical problems, AUD can cause disruptions in a person’s life including difficulty at work or school, financial problems due to excessive drinking, and legal issues related to driving under the influence or other behaviors while intoxicated. Furthermore, it can negatively affect the individual’s relationships with family or friends as they become increasingly isolated due to the addiction.15

Statistics of Alcohol Consumption and Treatment in the US

The prevalence of drinking in the US is a significant cause for concern, especially amongst the adult population. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), around 55 percent of adults reported that they drank within the past month. This number was at nearly 59.1 percent for men, while women’s intake was slightly lower at 51.0 percent.1

Binge drinking and heavy alcohol use were also reported by 25.8 percent of adults over 18. Among this group, 29.7% of men and 22.2% of women engaged in binge drinking in the past month, with 6.3% of participants who reported drinking heavily in the past month.1

However, despite these alarming levels of consumption, only 7% of individuals older than 12 who needed treatment for alcohol-related issues received any kind of specialized care or therapy in 2019. This highlights the need for more awareness campaigns and resources dedicated to helping individuals struggling with AUD get professional help before it becomes too late. Moreover, studies have suggested that offering comprehensive treatment programs specifically tailored to each individual could help reduce relapse rates significantly and lead to better long-term sobriety outcomes overall.1

Statistics of Alcohol Abuse Among Men & Women

Data from the national Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System’s telephone survey has revealed that the rates of binge drinking are significantly higher among men, with approximately 58% of adult men reporting drinking in the past month compared with 49% of adult women. A number of studies and research cast light on the gender difference when it comes to excessive alcohol consumption and AUD. For example, in 2020, 13% of men reported suffering from AUD compared with 9% of adult women.2

According to research, men suffer from alcohol-related hospitalizations more than women. Men are also more likely to die from excessive drinking than women. An average of 97,000 men die from alcohol-related causes every year in the U.S. Additionally, when looking at motor vehicle accidents involving intoxicated drivers, males are 50% more likely than females to have had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.2

In conclusion, research shows that excessive drinking among men is more common than that among females resulting in higher rates of injury and death due to alcohol misuse among males. As such, it’s important for policymakers and healthcare providers to view this issue as an area of focus when addressing public health issues related to AUD.2

On the other hand, women are more prone to developing alcohol-related illnesses as a result of excessive use. This includes hepatitis in the liver, as well as liver cirrhosis. Women are also more prone to developing heart disease and brain conditions as a result of AUD. Generally speaking, chronic excessive drinking puts both sexes at risk for serious health issues, but studies suggest that these effects may be seen in women after shorter durations and lower levels of alcohol consumption than those required for similar outcomes in men.3

Statistics of Alcohol Addiction-Related Illness and Death

Excessive drinking claimed an estimated 140,000 lives annually during 2015–2019. This amounts to more than 380 deaths every single day, most of which involve adults aged 35 or older and male individuals. Impacts from AUD can be wide-ranging and devastating, shortening the lives of those who die by an average of 26 years for a total of 3.6 million years of potential life lost.4

The main cause for these premature deaths is related to the health problems caused by excessive and prolonged drinking, including cancer, liver disease and heart disease. More than half of the total years of life lost are due to drinking too much in a short time, which can result in tragic events such as motor vehicle crashes, poisonings involving substances other than ethanol, and suicides.4

In order to reduce this large death toll due to AUD, governments and communities may help provide clear guidelines on how much is considered safe to drink and enforce laws strictly against drunk driving and other related activities. Educational campaigns may also be effective in raising awareness about the dangers associated with heavy drinking by targeting individuals at risk of developing a dependency.4

Additionally, providing resources such as rehabilitation centers and support groups may help individuals struggling with addiction problems receive professional assistance in overcoming their condition. Finally, it may be helpful to provide additional funding allocated to researching further into the effects of long-term alcohol consumption and interventions that can be implemented in order to reduce its prevalence among both adults and adolescents alike.4

Statistics of Drunk Driving

The number of drunk driving-related deaths in the United States is a sad reality: according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 11,654 people were killed by intoxicated drivers in 2020 alone. This figure represents a stark 14.3% increase compared to that of 2019, prompting an urgent need for more awareness and safety measures. This also takes an immense economic toll: alcohol-impaired driving crash deaths cost approximately $123.3 billion each year, taking into account medical care and cost estimates for the lost lives.5

Individuals most affected by drunk driving are often the drivers themselves. According to NHTSA’s data, 62% of people killed in such incidents were drivers who had been drinking, while 38% comprised passengers of the drunk driver or people outside of the vehicle. This means that one person dies from an alcohol-related driving accident every 45 minutes. It’s important to note that even children may be victims in these situations, considering that 229 children aged 0-14 have died in accidents that were a consequence of drunk driving in 2020.5

Statistics of Alcohol Abuse by Age

Signs and the prevalence of AUD can differ by age, which is why it’s important to be aware of the different levels of consumption and different risks across age groups.

Statistics of Alcohol Abuse & Children and Teens

Alcohol abuse among children and teens is a growing problem in today’s society. According to the NIAA, an estimated 24.6 percent of people between the ages of 14 and 15 have reported drinking at least once in their lifetime. This number increases with age, as 7 million young people between 12 and 20 have reported drinking beyond “just a few sips” within the past month. Additionally, 4.2 million young individuals have reported binge drinking at least once in the past month, with 825,000 of those reporting binge drinking on five or more days in this same time frame.9

Rates of alcohol abuse also vary based on race and ethnicity. While White, Black, and Hispanic teenagers are all equally likely to drink at age 14, by age 18 White and Hispanic teenagers are twice as likely to drink than their Black counterparts.9

Overall, alcohol abuse among young people is a serious issue that should not be taken lightly. Educating children and teens about the dangers associated with consuming alcohol can help reduce rates of use across all racial backgrounds, providing them with information necessary for making healthy decisions that can shape their future for the better.9

Statistics of Alcohol Abuse & Adults

According to research from 2021, approximately one in six U.S. adults reported binge drinking during the past 30 days in 2018. Of those who engaged in binge drinking, 25% did so at least weekly, while 25% consumed at least eight drinks during one occasion of binge drinking. Furthermore, 85.6 percent of individuals aged 18 and older reported that they had drunk alcohol at some point in their lifetime; 69.5 percent reported having drunk within the last year; and 54.9 percent reported having consumed alcohol in the past month.10

Statistics of Alcohol Abuse & Seniors

According to current research, alcohol consumption has increased among the population aged 60 and above over the past two decades, with a 20 percent rate of current binge drinking reported amongst adults aged 60-64 and 11 percent for those over 65. This increase in alcohol consumption can lead to a variety of health risks for older adults, including heightened sensitivity to alcohol, an increase in health problems, and potential interactions with medications.11

For example, individuals receiving medication for high blood pressure may be at an increased risk of adverse effects from alcohol due to their weakened liver function. This highlights that it is important for seniors to be mindful of their drinking habits; professional guidance should always be sought if there are concerns about excessive drinking or reliance on alcohol.11

Statistics Alcohol Abuse Among Veterans

Veterans are significantly more likely to struggle with alcohol abuse than the general population. A study that examined data from the NSDUH found that in a one-month period, 56.6% of veterans used alcohol compared to 50.8% of non-veterans, and 7.5% reported heavy use compared to 6.5% in the general population.14

Notably, 65% of veterans entering a treatment program for Substance Use Disorder (SUD) reported alcohol as the substance they most frequently misuse – almost double that of the general population.14 In addition, 4 out of 5 veterans with SUD also reported problems with alcohol. This indicates that those who have served in the military are particularly at risk of developing an issue with this substance, and should be alerted to this risk so that they can access appropriate resources if necessary.13

In order to help prevent and reduce alcohol abuse among veterans, individuals must have access to tailored programs designed specifically for this population. Such programs should focus on providing physical health care services and psychotherapy sessions that deal with mental trauma associated with military service.12

Alcoholism and Crime Statistics

Alcohol abuse in the United States contributes to a large number of crimes and other adverse events every year. Over 20 percent of all violent crime in the US involves an offender who has been drinking at the time of the crime.18 It’s clear that AUD has become a major issue in recent years that needs to be addressed with both immediate action and long-term preventative strategies.

Finding Treatment For Alcohol Abuse

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a statewide network of reputable treatment centers designed for individuals struggling with SUDs. AAC’s experienced medical and counseling staff work together to diagnose and treat alcohol abuse, identify potential causes of the condition, and evaluate the type of patient being treated. Professionals at AAC’s facilities are aware that AUD can manifest differently in each patient and take a tailored approach to treatment that may include detoxification, withdrawal management, medications, counseling, therapy, and other types of support.

AAC also recognizes that AUD is a progressive disease with various stages – from early to late stage – which can affect different individuals in different ways. In order to address these stages appropriately, these treatment centers provide comprehensive assessments that evaluate mental health status, substance use history, risk factors for relapse, appropriate medication, prevention plans and more, designed specifically for each patient’s needs.

The cost of the treatment program may vary depending on the treatment-seeking individual’s needs and their chosen facility. The rehab navigator at AAC’s treatment hotline can find an appropriate facility for each treatment-seeking individual. The program includes physical stabilization through detoxification processes, psychological stabilization through therapeutic programs, emotional stabilization through support groups and social networks, and more, all aimed at helping struggling individuals achieve long-term sobriety.

Frequently Asked Questions