Alcohol Facts and Statistics

Alcohol Abuse Facts and Statistics

Worldwide, close to 17 million adults are diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, or alcohol addiction. This disorder is one of the leading causes of injury and death nationally, and the fifth leading risk factor of premature death and disability globally. Alcohol has become increasingly accessible to adults and to minors, and it has cost the country billions of dollars from frequent misuse.

Many individuals have their first drink before entering high school. Such early exposure can have damaging effects on brain growth, and it increases the risk for individuals to struggle with alcohol addiction and alcohol-related injury. Although experiences differ from one person to the next, it is important to know the lasting effects of alcohol abuse and the risks from not being cautious while under the influence.

Alcohol Abuse Facts
The United States government recognizes addiction as a public health crisis. With the continued increase in alcohol-related incidents, numerous agencies and medical institutions have conducted studies to document influences of alcohol consumption on the general population. The following government agencies are dedicated to studying addiction and alcoholism:

  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • National Institute of Health
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Like abusing any substance in excess, alcohol abuse can result in a long list of negative side effects and behaviors including:

  • Inability to limit alcohol consumption
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver damage
  • Increased risk of cancer

In addition, severe alcohol dependency leads to a battle with withdrawal, a series of physical and emotional strains users experience after the abrupt removal of a substance from their daily routine. Dependency affects the body and the brain, so much that the brain also begins to crave alcohol to function normally. Deviation or withdrawal from alcohol can cause serious and sometimes fatal consequences including:

  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
Effects of alcohol abuse cross gender and racial barriers. However, some ethnic groups experience more severe long-term symptoms as a result of their alcohol consumption. Some common statistics include:

  • Women of Native American descent die from cirrhosis of the liver more than any other ethnic group in the United States
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome is three times more prevalent in Native Americans than the national average
  • Caucasians drink little over 10 percent more than African Americans
  • More than 20 percent of Hispanics are binge drinkers
  • Of every ethnic group in the United States, Asian-Americans are the least likely to drink
  • African Americans are more likely to experience a myriad of health issues from alcohol abuse, including cirrhosis, cancer and heart disease than other races
Every experience with alcohol consumption in moderation or in excess will differ, specifically as it relates to gender. Physical differences between men and women greatly affect how alcohol impairs the mind, body and even habits. Some surprising gender statistics on alcohol abuse include:   

  • Men are more likely to drink excessively than women
  • Men have a higher rate of alcohol-related hospitalizations than women
  • Men are more likely to binge drink than women
  • Women have higher alcohol levels in their blood than men because it takes longer to metabolize
  • Women are more likely to have long-term health issues from drinking, including liver disease and cancer
  • Close to 10 percent of women drink alcohol while pregnant
Alcohol is the most abused substance among youth in the United States. Because of its increased accessibility, it has also become one of the most dangerous, legal substances available. It continues to pose high risks and can leave lasting effects on youth before they fully enter adulthood:

  • More than 10 percent of children live with parents suffering from alcoholism
  • Underage drinkers on average consume more alcohol per occasion than adult drinkers
  • Underage drinking increases the risk of alcoholism later in adulthood; youth who begin drinking before the age of 15 are more than five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence later in life compared to those who begin drinking at the legal age of 21
  • 97,000 students between the ages of 18 – 24 are sexually assaulted in an alcohol-related incident
  • About 20 percent of college students struggle with alcohol abuse
Alcohol abuse and alcohol related incidents are responsible for thousands of injury cases and fatalities across the country. The numbers continue to rise at a shocking rate, and have even affected the number of fatalities worldwide. Some surprising stats include:

  • Alcohol-related incidents are responsible for almost 6 percent of deaths in 2012 worldwide
  • More than 80,000 people die from alcohol-related incidents every year
  • Alcohol is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States
  • 31 percent of driving fatalities were directly linked to alcohol-related impairment in 2014
  • Men are more likely to commit suicide than women after drinking alcohol
Alcohol addiction is a common struggle for thousand of people everyday. The silver lining is knowing treatment and therapy options are available. The Recovery Village has a trained team of medical professionals ready to help guide you through your recovery journey. If you or someone you know are struggling with alcohol abuse, don’t be afraid to seek help. The journey begins with you.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, March 7). Fact Sheets-Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Men’s Health. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, March 7). Fact Sheets-Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Women’s Health. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, October 20). Fact Sheets-Underage Drinking. Retrieved from

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2017, February). Alcohol Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2014). Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help. Retrieved from

Rufus, A. (2010, December 10). Who Drinks the Most Alcohol? Retrieved from

WVU School of Public Health. (n.d.). Gender and Ethnic Differences | Alcohol Awareness. Retrieved from

Alcohol Facts and Statistics
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