6 Interesting Statistics About Alcohol Consumption

There’s nothing wrong with having a few drinks, but it’s important to recognize when we have a problematic relationship with alcohol. This applies not only to individuals but to our culture as a whole. The fact is that we have a lot to work on regarding our usage of alcohol, and statistics back this.

If you aren’t aware of the numbers surrounding alcohol use, now it’s a good time to give them a read.

In this article, we’ll show you six interesting statistics about alcohol consumption that you might not be aware of and tips on controlling your drinking.

6 Eye-Opening Statistics About Alcohol Use

The statistics we’ll discuss are all taken from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website or NIAAA, and they are based on the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH for short). Here are six stats that will make you rethink your drinking habits:

Are There Many People Who Drink Heavily or Engage in Binge Drink?

25.8% of people aged 18 and older stated that they had engaged in binge drinking within a month of taking the survey, and 6.3% reported that they used heavy alcohol within the same period. In comparison, 29.7% of men and 22.2% of women in this age group stated that they had engaged in heavy drinking within the last 30 days.

What’s the Percentage of People with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)?

Nearly 15 million people aged 12 and older that took the 2019 NSDUH survey had AUDs. This means 9.0 million men (6.8% of men in this age group) and 5.5 million women (3.9% of women in this age group).

In the same study, an estimated 414,000 teenagers aged 12 to 17 (1.7% of this age group) had AUD. There are 163,000 teenage boys (1.3% of males in this age group) and 251,000 teenage girls (2.1% of females in this age group). The numbers are lower for teenagers, but only a few percentage points below.

As you can see, while alcohol use disorder is a larger issue for men from 18 up, it’s teenage girls who have more issues with it between the ages of 12 to 17.

How Many People with AUD Get Treated for It?

The number of people with alcohol use disorder that get treated is staggeringly low. Approximately 7.2% of people aged 12 and older who had AUD received any treatment in the past year. Accounting for gender, the number was approximately 6.9% for males and 7.8% for females, showing that women are more likely to seek treatment than men. Lastly, 6.4% of teenagers aged 12 to 17 with AUD received treatment in the past year. Both teenage boys and girls looked for treatment the same amount.

How Many People Die Every Year from Alcohol-Related Causes?

Alcohol abuse is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the US. Approximately 95,000 people die of alcohol-related causes (roughly 68,000 men and 27,000 women) each year in the United States, making it the third-leading preventable cause of death. Tobacco is the first, followed by poor diet and physical inactivity.

But alcohol abuse can be particularly bad for college-aged people. Millions of Americans between 18 and 22 die each year from alcohol-related factors. About 1,519 college-aged students aged 18 to 24 die from unintentional injuries related to alcohol consumption, including motor vehicle accidents. That’s according to the most recent statistics from the NIAAA.

What Health Problems is Alcohol Abuse Likely to Cause?

Alcohol misuse is associated with heart and liver diseases, strokes, stomach bleeding, and depression, as well as cancers of the liver, esophagus, oral cavity, larynx, pharynx, colon, and rectum. Individuals with these conditions may also suffer from high blood pressure, sleep disorders, diabetes, and pain. Their likelihood of engaging in unsafe sexual behavior may also increase.

Excessive alcohol consumption is also associated with drownings, violence, falls, and motor vehicle accidents. Alcohol consumption is also linked to an increased risk of oropharyngeal cancer, female breast cancer, esophageal cancer (especially in individuals with a deficiency in an enzyme involved in alcohol metabolism), and adverse medication interactions. It also has been shown that women who consume alcohol during pregnancy may have an increased risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in their offspring.

What Are the Latest Trends regarding Alcohol Misuse?

There has been an emerging trend of high-intensity drinking regarding alcohol misuse. Alcohol consumption two or more times the gender-specific binge drinking threshold is defined as high-intensity drinking. Compared with people who don’t binge drink, people who drink twice the gender-specific binge threshold are 70 times more likely to visit the ED for alcohol-related reasons, and those who consume three times the gender-specific binge threshold are 93 times more likely to visit the ED for the same reasons.

Binge drinking is already problematic enough, so a new trend that is twice or thrice as bad is something to be wary of.

Tips to Keep Your Alcohol Use in Check

Nobody wants to become another statistic. Having a few drinks is great, so long as you drink in moderation. If you want to help cut back on your drinking but don’t know how then consider the following tips:

  • Track your drinking with a binge drinking app to help keep you accountable for your drinking.
  • Alternate your drinking with water and have snacks at hand to keep your stomach from going empty to help you handle your drinking better. This will also help you avoid hangovers.
  • Plan before you start drinking. Set a limit for how much you will drink, and practice saying no to drinks if you have difficulty dealing with social pressure. A mindful drinking app with reminders and positive reinforcement messages can help you focus on your goals.

Final Thoughts

Even if the numbers might paint a grim picture, we are not trying to say that drinking alcohol is bad. Quite the opposite, alcohol has its uses, and it’s a great way to unwind, as long as you are mindful of how you engage with your drinking. It’s important to control our liquor before it controls us.