About Alcoholism Facts


Alcoholism has become a major problem in industrialized countries throughout the world.

Paradoxically, the more "developed" and technologically advanced a country becomes, the more it seems vulnerable to the societal, personal problems and difficulties, and alcoholism effects that are directly or indirectly caused by this disease.

Stated differently, with all of the technological and health-related improvements that have been accomplished and implemented in the past twenty or thirty years, why do so many people in the industrialized nations of the world suffer from binge drinking, alcohol poisoning, alcohol abuse, and from the devastating consequences of alcoholism?

For Most People, Drinking Alcohol Is Enjoyable

According to various alcoholism facts and alcoholism statistics, for the vast majority of people, drinking alcohol is a pleasant experience.


This is especially the case when people are engaged in recreational and social activities and when their drinking behavior can be considered as "moderate" or responsible.

Moderate alcohol use can be defined as having up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.

In the vast majority of situations, moreover, drinking in moderation is not harmful for most adults.

It has been shown by alcoholism statistics, however, that a relatively large number of individuals simply cannot have any alcoholic beverages because of the problems they experience when drinking.

According to the most recent alcoholism facts that are available, due to the fact that roughly 14 million Americans abuse alcohol or are alcoholic, this group of people who should not or can not drink alcohol is a sizeable and a significant amount of people.

To emphasize the point more forcefully, consider the following: according to recent alcoholism research, it has been found that approximately 53 percent of the adults in the United States have stated that one or more of their close relatives has a drinking problem that requires professional alcoholism assistance.

Damaging and Devastating Alcoholism Effects

Medical research statistics and facts about alcoholism have demonstrated that most alcoholism effects are not only destructive and extremely unhealthy, but in far too many instance, fatal.

For instance, excessive drinking can increase the risk for certain cancers, such as cancer of the kidneys, throat, colon, larynx, rectum, esophagus, and the liver.

Heavy, chronic and abusive drinking can also lead to immune system problems, brain damage, harm to the fetus while the mother is pregnant, cirrhosis of the liver, and chronic alcoholism.

Sadly, it appears that many people are neither aware of alcoholism facts such as these nor are they conversant with the many negative and debilitating alcoholism effects that most alcoholics experience.

Moreover, irresponsible and excessive drinking increases the risk of death from motor vehicle accidents as well as work-related and recreational injuries and accidents.

Not only this, but homicides and suicides are more likely to committed by individuals who have been drinking alcohol.

According to the facts about alcoholism and alcohol abuse, in basic economic terms, alcohol-related issues and problems cost the people in the United States approximately $200 billion per year.

In human terms, the cost of the following alcohol-related issues are, however, impossible to calculate: destroyed lives, failed health, child abuse, illnesses, fatalities, wife battering, broken homes, and injuries.

Summing up, then, we can see that most, if not all alcohol dependent individuals suffer from alcoholism effects that not only destroy their health but that typically devastate their relationships, wreck havoc with their finances and employment, and in some cases result in alcohol-related traffic fatalities and workplace injuries and accidents that cause others to lose their lives.

Such alcoholism facts point to one obvious conclusion: alcoholics, no matter what stage of the disease they are experiencing, need relevant alcoholism information and immediate alcoholism treatment. 

Alcoholism Statistics

Unfortunately, the full scope of the damaging nature of alcoholism effects and the "true" alcohol abuse facts and facts about alcoholism are not easily understood unless relevant statistics about alcoholism, alcoholism information, and various alcohol abuse and alcoholism facts are presented.

In short, statistics on alcoholism and alcohol abuse provide the kind of alcoholism facts that make a significant impact on people's awareness.

With this in mind, the following alcohol abuse and alcoholism statistics are provided below:

  • Although 40 percent of U.S. college freshmen say they binge drink, 5 or more drinks on one occasion, a new study has discovered that up to 20 percent of male students go substantially beyond the binge-drinking threshold, consuming more than 10 or 15 drinks per drinking session.

  • Up to 80 percent of alcoholics have a deficiency in thiamine and some of these individuals will go on to develop serious brain disorders such as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.

  • Alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse cost the United States an estimated $220 billion in 2005. This dollar amount was more than the cost associated with cancer ($196 billion) and obesity ($133 billion).

  • Every year in the U.S. more than 150,000 college students develop health problem that are alcohol-related.

  • The 9.6% of adult alcoholics drink 25% of the alcohol that is consumed by all adult drinkers.

  • Every day in the United States more than 13,000 children and teens take their first drink.

  • According to recent research, 62% of U.S. high school seniors reported that they have been drunk recently.

  • According to a study undertaken in 2002, at least 762,000 children that are born each year have been exposed to alcohol during the mother's pregnancy.

  • Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States.

  • 3 million Americans over the age of 60 are alcoholics or have serious drinking problems.

  • 3.1 million Americans, roughly 1.4% of the population 12 and older, received treatment for alcoholism and alcohol-related problems in 1997.

These alcoholism facts and alcoholism statistics paint a dreary picture of the alcoholism effects that are experienced by alcoholics.

Obviously, some major educational, preventative, and treatment changes need to take place in our society if these alcoholism statistics and effects are to be significantly reduced.


The Difference Between Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Many people incorrectly think that alcohol abuse and alcoholism are the same.

Simply put, this is incorrect information that is not based upon alcoholism facts, alcoholism research, or on statistics about alcoholism. 

More specifically, alcohol abuse, unlike alcoholism, does not include an extremely strong desire for alcohol, physical dependence, or the loss of control due to drinking.

Alcohol abuse is defined as a pattern of drinking that results in one or more of the following situations in a twelve-month time period:

  • Failure to attend to important responsibilities at work, home, or school.

  • Drinking in situations that can result in physical injury. Examples include driving a vehicle or operating machinery.

  • Experiencing recurring alcohol-related legal problems. Examples include getting arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, for damaging someone's property, or for physically hurting someone while drunk.
  • Continued drinking in spite of ongoing relationship problems that are the result of drinking.

What is Alcoholism?

Also known as alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence, alcoholism is a progressive debilitating disease that includes the following symptoms:

  • Physical dependence: Withdrawal symptoms when a person stops drinking after a period of excessive drinking. Such symptoms include: anxiety, sweating, nausea, and "the shakes."

  • Tolerance: The need to drink increasing amounts of alcohol in order to "feel the buzz" or to "get high."

  • Craving: A strong and continuing compulsion or need to drink.

  • Loss of control: The inability to limit one's drinking over time or on any given occasion.

Keep in mind that alcohol is a depressant and not a stimulant as proclaimed by many people who feel that drinking helps them "unwind" in social circumstances.

It is this fact, moreover, that may help explain the relatively frequent occurrence of alcoholism and depression in the same person.

And by the way, according to the alcohol abuse and alcoholism research literature, when a person manifests both alcoholism and depression, it is important for him or her to get treatment for both of these medical conditions.

The Need for Alcoholism Treatment

It is important to emphasize the following: if you observe your friends or family members exhibiting any of the above symptoms or behaviors, consider the fact that they may need alcoholism help.

More precisely, they may need to enter into a hospital or a treatment center for alcoholism treatment or rehab if they are to recover from their addiction and from the alcoholism effects they are surely experiencing.

Treating alcoholism typically includes a combination of counseling, education, support, prescribed medications, and follow-up rehab to help an individual quit drinking.

In fact, this combination may be the current best treatment scenario.

Stated differently, after treating people and helping them overcome their addiction via medications, education, and support, counseling and follow-up rehab can then teach them how to make the necessary lifestyle changes that will help them avoid an alcohol relapse and remain sober.

What About Alcoholism and Self-Control?

Frequently, people who are not alcoholic do not fully understand why an alcoholic can't simply use willpower or self- control to stay away from drinking.

According to the alcoholism facts found by substance abuse researchers, however, alcoholism has little to do with being strong, with willpower, or with fighting the temptations to drink in the vast majority of circumstances.

In fact, alcoholics are caught in the compelling grip of an uncontrollable need for alcohol that takes precedence over their ability to quit drinking.

Indeed, alcoholism statistics show that the need to drink for the alcoholic can be as strong as his or her need for shelter, food, or water.

An Alcoholism Cure? While there is no known cure for alcoholism, recovery from alcoholism is, fortunately, possible.

While some individuals are able to recover from alcoholism without professional assistance, according to the research literature, many, if not most, alcoholics need medical treatment or counseling for their addiction.

The good news, however, is this: through rehab, counseling, alcoholism treatment, and support, many alcoholics are able to refrain from drinking, reverse many of the alcoholism effects they have experienced, and re-establish their lives.

Conclusion: About Alcoholism Facts

As shown by various alcoholism facts and alcoholism statistics, unfortunately, alcoholism has become a critical problem in the United States AND in other developed countries in the world.

Ironically, the more technologically advanced and "developed" a nation has become, the more it seems susceptible to alcoholism effects in the form of societal and personal problems that are directly or indirectly related to this disease.

Numerous alcoholism facts, statistics about alcoholism, and other types of alcoholism information have been presented that all point to the devastating and debilitating alcoholism effects that most, if not all alcohol addicted individuals eventually experience.

All of the damaging consequences of alcoholism, moreover, point to one conclusion: all alcoholics need immediate alcoholism treatment if they are to recover from this destructive disease.


As noted above, alcohol is not a stimulant but a depressant.

This fact runs counter to the claims made by many people that alcohol must be a stimulant because it helps them face social situations more openly and easily.

Since alcohol is a depressant, furthermore, this may help explain the fairly routine incidence of alcoholism and depression in the same individual.

Statistics about alcoholism such as these strongly point to the need to treat the alcoholic for both alcoholism and depression if the person is expected to recover from both medical conditions.