Numbers don’t lie. A slew of alcohol abuse statistics points to a grim reality.
Alcoholism statistics leave no doubt that there is a problem all over the U.S. and it has to be tackled promptly and effectively. Here are the numbers in greater detail.
Prevalence of Drinking
Social drinking is acceptable in the U.S. Nobody frowns if you drink a glass or two of wine at a party or gulp down a can of beer while watching your favorite team play. Now not all who drink an occasional glass of whiskey or take a shot of tequila go on to become addicts. However, there are also many others who cross the line between social drinking and binging and end up abusing alcohol.
The following are the statistics for alcohol use for 2014:
- 86 percent of people aged 18 years and more reported drinking alcohol at least once during their lifetime. 71 percent of people in the same age group reported that they drank during the past year while 56.9 percent drank in the past month.
- 8 percent of full-time college students aged between 18 and 22 years reported that they drank alcohol in the past month.
- 7 percent of teens aged 15 years reported that they drank alcohol at least once during their lifetime.
- 8 percent of individuals aged between 12 and 20 years reported drinking alcohol in the past month.
Prevalence of Binge Drinking
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), binge drinking is the most rampant form of excessive alcohol use. Binge drinkers tend to consume about 8 drinks in one sitting, which is far more than what constitutes health risk behavior.
Consuming a large amount of alcohol within a short time increases the risk of an overdose with fatal consequences. These numbers on binge drinking from 2014 are therefore worrying:
- 7 percent of people aged 18 years and more reported that they binged on alcohol in the past month.
- 8 percent of people aged between 12 and 20 years reported binging on alcohol regularly.
- 9 percent of college students reported binge drinking in the past month.
Prevalence of Heavy Drinking
The statistics on heavy drinking provide clues to the magnitude of the problem of alcohol abuse. The following are the disconcerting facts, as obtained from surveys carried out in 2014:
- 7 percent of people aged 18 years and older reported drinking heavily at least once in the past month.
- 4 percent of individuals aged between 12 and 20 years are heavy drinkers.
- 2 percent of college students reported engaging in heavy drinking in the past month.
Prevalence of AUD
An Alcohol Use Disorder is a condition that usually manifests in alcohol-dependent individuals and can lead to addiction if not treated early. A person with this condition will feel a strong urge to drink alcohol or to keep drinking it.
How common is an Alcohol Use Disorder?
According to U.S. government records for 2014, 8% of people aged 18 years and older suffer from an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), and more commonly men than women. 7% of people aged between 12 and 17 years suffers from AUD and is prevalent among women.AUD can progress to addiction if it is not treated promptly. According to U.S. government records for 2014, AUD is prevalent among both youths and adults:
- 8 percent of people aged 18 years and older (16.3 million adults) suffered from AUD. The prevalence is greater among men than women, for in this group were 10.6 million men and 5.7 million women.
- 7 percent of people aged between 12 and 17 years (679,000 adolescents) suffered from AUD. Females outnumbered males in this group. There were 367,000 females compared to 311,000 males.
How common are alcohol-related deaths?
Alcohol-related deaths are most common among middle-aged adults, aging 35-64 years old. 76 percent of this population are men and 24 percent are women. About 88,000 people die every year in the U.S. from alcohol-related causes.
Alcohol damages almost all the organs of the body and causes various medical complications and diseases. If alcohol abuse continues and the diseases are not treated, the consequences can be fatal.
Besides these physiological side effects, alcohol abuse also impairs brain function. People are known to cause accidents or get involved in violence under the influence of alcohol.
The following numbers prove that alcohol can be deadly:
- About 88,000 people die every year in the U.S. from alcohol-related causes. Alcohol abuse is the fourth leading cause of mortality in the country.
- An average of 6 people die every day from alcohol poisoning, according to a 2015 report by the CDC.
- 76 percent of alcohol poisoning or overdose deaths are amongst working-age people between 35 and 64 years.
- 76 percent of alcohol overdose deaths are amongst men.
- In 2014, 31 percent of all driving-related fatalities were caused by people who were driving under the influence of alcohol.
- About 1,825 college students aged between 18 and 24 years die every year from alcohol-related causes.
- In 2011, 48 percent of all people who died of cirrhosis abused alcohol.
- In 2011, alcohol-related cirrhosis deaths were highest (72.7 percent) amongst people aged between 25 and 35 years, followed by those between 35 and 44 years of age (70.3 percent).
- More than 3,000 people have died during 2006-2010 from cardiac diseases and strokes caused by excessive alcohol use, according to the Alcohol-Related Disease Impact Report by CDC.
Alcohol-Related Diseases, Accidents, and Violence Statistics
Alcohol abuse takes a person down a risky path. The risk for developing serious disease increases. Because alcohol also takes over the mind, the chronic user and the addict lose control over their impulses, cognitive faculties, and reflexes. The result is an increase in the number of violent incidents.
- In 2009, alcohol-induced liver disease was the reason behind 1 in 3 liver transplants.
- Every year 696,000 college students aged between 18 and 24 years are involved in alcohol-related assaults.
- Every year 97,000 college students aged between 18 and 24 years report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
- A 3 percent decrease in the number of bars in Buckhead, Atlanta, between 1997-2002 and 2003-2007 led to a 2-fold greater decrease in the number of violent crimes in this neighborhood compared to other areas in the city.
Incidence of Alcohol Abuse in Pregnant Women
Alcohol crosses the placenta and is absorbed by the blood and tissues of the developing fetus. Pregnant women who drink harm not only themselves but also their unborn child. The following are some disturbing statistics:
- 1 in 10 pregnant women drinks alcohol, according to the CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) report for 2011-2013.
- 1 in 33 women binged on alcohol during the past month during the period from 2011 to 2013.
- During 2011-2013, pregnant women reported an average of 4.6 binge-drinking episodes during the past month compared to an average of 3.1 reported by women who are not pregnant.
- The prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is 0.3 per 1,000 children aged between 7 and 9 years, according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published by CDC on January 30, 2015. FAS is marked by stunted growth and abnormal functioning of the central nervous system resulting from maternal alcohol abuse.
Economic and Social Costs of Alcohol Abuse
The social and economic burden of alcohol abuse ranges from loss of productive capacity to losing out on having a healthy and happy upbringing within a stable family unit.
The following are some heartbreaking statistics:
- The number of years of potential life lost (YPLL) was 2.5 million during the period from 2006 to 2010, according to CDC.
- $249 billion was the cost of alcohol abuse in the U.S. in 2010. Excessive alcohol use is a drain on the economy of the country.
- About 1 in 4 college students report instances of absenteeism and falling grades caused by alcohol use.
- More than 10 percent of all U.S. children live with a parent who abuses alcohol. It is likely that these children grow up witnessing verbal, physical, and/or emotional abuse or worse, experience it themselves. They may also suffer from physical and/or emotional neglect and indifference and are scarred for life.
Alcoholism statistics are eye-openers. They reinforce the need for spreading awareness both amongst those who use alcohol and those who live with people who do.