Alcoholism Statistics Overview

Over 14 million people in the United States have an alcohol addiction. However, you do not have to be an alcoholic to be impacted by alcoholism. Alcoholism statistics are generally based on solid research. This research is usually performed by sociologists, educators, or those who are simply interested in knowing how alcoholism affects society and the world. Statistics that are based on drug and alcohol use are never 100 percent accurate because there is no way to accurately determine how alcoholism affects each individual in the world. However, we can use statistics to gain a good understanding of the social and societal impact that alcoholism has on individuals of all ages, from babies to the elderly.

Just as with most drugs, alcohol does not only impact the individual who is suffering from alcohol dependence. Alcoholism also impacts a person's spouse, relatives, friends and children. Alcoholism can also affect total strangers, as many individuals lose their lives yearly at the hands of drunk drivers. Exploring common alcohol abuse statistics and researching information about alcoholism is a great way for individuals to educate themselves on the dangers of alcohol.

Children and Alcoholism

There are countless statistics available on the effects that alcoholism has on children. Kids that grow up in a home with one or more parents who are alcoholics often have emotional problems. One in five children live with at least one adult who is an alcoholic, and these children often see themselves as the cause of the alcoholic behavior that surrounds them. Children who live with alcoholics also have a higher likelihood of becoming alcoholics themselves, and they will likely try their first drink before or during their teenage years.

Alcoholism and Pregnancy

Fetal alcohol syndrome is one of the most common birth defects in children. This condition develops when pregnant mothers binge drink throughout their pregnancies. Over 50,000 children in the United States alone are born with severe cases of fetal alcohol syndrome each year. If babies suffering with this syndrome are not cured, they can suffer from mild to severe mental retardation and other birth defects. When babies are born addicted to alcohol, they must undergo the process of detoxification, and a medical practitioner must closely supervise them throughout this process. Mothers who drink excessively during their pregnancies also have a higher likelihood of delivering a stillborn baby. For these reasons, most health practitioners encourage mothers to stop drinking immediately after learning they are pregnant.

Alcoholism and the Elderly

Alcoholism does not only affect young and middle-aged individuals, as the elderly population accounts for a large portion of individuals who abuse alcohol. Over three million individuals who abuse alcohol in the United States are over age 60. In addition, there has been a great increase in the number of "baby boomers" becoming addicted to alcohol. Alcoholism is also common among elderly individuals who are single and have limited incomes. It is also common for elderly individuals to turn to alcohol after the loss of a long-time spouse.

Alcoholism and Illness

Alcoholism can lead to a host of illnesses, many of which can cause irreversible damage to the body. Cirrhosis of the liver is a common disease that many individuals who suffer from alcoholism obtain, primarily if they have been consuming large amounts of alcohol for many years. Excessive alcohol consumption also doubles a person's chances of developing colon, kidney, throat, rectal, and esophageal cancer. Alcoholism also compromises the immune system severely, making it easier for alcoholics to contract bacterial and viral diseases.

Alcoholism and Genetics

Science has proven that genetics play a significant role in the development of alcoholism. Statistics show that over 40 percent of individuals suffering from alcoholism were genetically predisposed to this disease. However, not all individuals with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism become alcoholics. In those who either never drink or drink occasionally, these genes will lay dormant, but heavy drinkers who are predisposed to alcoholism can become addicted to alcohol rather quickly.


The mortality rate in individuals who consume excessive amounts of alcohol is quite high. Driving accidents, alcohol poisoning, damaged organs and decreased immunity are just some of the problems that alcoholics face. Many also face a host of psychological problems as well, and many are depressed and contemplate suicide. The majority of alcoholics need some form of psychological counseling.

Getting Help

Those suffering from alcoholism are often crying out for help. Family members and loved ones are often available, but most often, professional help is necessary. The majority of individuals suffering from alcohol dependence must undergo detoxification. They must also learn to cope without using alcohol consistently, which is why there is a great deal of support available to individuals who struggle with alcohol abuse. Alcoholics Anonymous is the most popular group available to individuals with alcohol addictions, but there are many other support groups available as well. These alcoholism statistics show that alcoholism is a very serious disease, and it is important for those suffering from this disease to seek professional help.

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