44 Important Alcoholism Statistics and Facts for 2020

written by / February 9, 2020

The alcoholism statistics show that this disease can affect anyone, irrespective of race, religion, or country. It’s easy to get caught up in the appeal of alcohol—it’s offered at almost every event or occasion. It almost feels like people are always coming up with new ways to create cocktails that look good and smell nice.

This can make everyone forget that alcohol is a drug. A lot of people get carried away and drink too much. This may be an indication of alcoholism, a medical condition that makes it difficult to live a healthy life.

With this in mind, we compiled these alcoholism facts, hard data, and statistics to help people be more aware of the dangers of alcohol. We want to help you, the society around you, and your loved ones make healthier decisions. This article will also help illuminate the relationship between alcoholism and different categories of people, based on age, gender, where they live, and so on.

Disturbing Facts about Alcohol

To give an idea of what’s included, here’s a look at some of the most important statistics about alcohol for a quick read:

  • 1 in 8 American adults fulfill the criteria for having an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
  • 56% of American adults indicated that they’d had a drink within the last month.
  • For students in college, the alcohol facts show that almost 150,000 of them develop an alcohol-related health problem each year.
  • 33.1% of 15-year-olds report having had at least one drink so far in their lifetime.
  • More than 5.3 million adult women have an alcohol use disorder.
  • About 20% of the adult population in the US drinks alcohol as a way to fall asleep.
  • The collective risk of obstructive sleep apnea in individuals who consume alcohol increased by 25%.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous mentions a success rate of 50%, with 25% staying sober after some relapses.

General Alcoholism Statistics

Alcoholism Statistics - Featured

1. 1 in 8 American adults fulfill the criteria for having an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

An alcohol use disorder can be fatal due to liver diseases and other complications. There are also reports that alcohol is by far the most misused addictive substance, with up to 12.7% of American adults suffering from one.


2. 86.4% of adults admit to drinking alcohol at least once in their lifetimes.

This and several of the following alcohol use statistics are from a comprehensive survey carried out in 2015 called the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). It shows that a large number of people have consumed alcohol during at least one stage of their lives.


3. Teenagers who start drinking before the age of 15 have a higher probability of alcohol dependence.

These teenage alcohol abuse statistics show that underage drinking should be prevented by any means to prevent the development of alcohol dependence in adulthood.


4. 56% of American adults indicated that they’d had a drink within the last month.

70.1% of those surveyed also stated that they’d had a drink within the last year, according to the NSDUH.


5. The minimum legal drinking age ranges from 16 to 21 in most countries around the world.

The alcohol facts and statistics tell us that in 116 countries, the minimum legal drinking age falls at 18–19, making it the most common age range. 19 countries don’t have any minimum legal drinking age, while alcohol is banned in 16 countries, most of which are Muslim countries.


College Alcohol Statistics

6. 80% of college students consume alcohol.

This means that 4 out of 5 college students drink alcohol to some degree. This doesn’t imply they’re all alcoholics; it just shows the number of students who aren’t opposed to drinking. Nevertheless, college alcoholism affects millions of students around the country yearly according to the alcohol stats.


7. 50% of the college students who drink also binge drink.

Binge drinking refers to consuming large amounts of alcohol in quick intervals. These facts show that of the 80% of students who consume alcohol in college, half drink way too much. This can generally be attributed to the number of parties held in college.


8. Students are exposed to binge drinking the most during the first 6 weeks of their freshman year.

The alcohol abuse facts show that some students start drinking on the first day of school, presumably as a result of peer pressure. In this case, students will keep drinking throughout their college careers without thinking about the consequences.


9. Almost 150,000 college students develop an alcohol-related health problem each year.

This is a direct result of heavy drinking. The complications vary and may include high blood pressure, pancreas inflammation, or liver damage.


Interesting Facts About Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

10. 15.1 million adults in the US aged 18 and older have an alcohol use disorder.

This amounts to 6.2% of the total population, which includes 5.3 million women and 9.8 million men. These numbers amount to 8.4% of men and 4.2% of women.


11. 6.7% of all the adults with AUD in 2015 received treatment.

These facts about alcohol abuse show that some people are willing to get treatment for it, but a large percentage (93.3%) of the population with AUD didn’t seek out treatment. Among those age 18 and up, this accounts for 7.4% of men and 5.4% of women.


12. A considerable number of adolescents aged 12–17 had AUD in 2015.

Reports show that 623,000 teenagers had AUD, including 298,000 young men and 325,000 young women. These values amount to 2.3% of the boys and 2.7% of the girls in this age bracket. These alcohol statistics from 2015 were retrieved from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.


Global Alcohol Statistics

13. Alcohol is a major contributor to over 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions.

The World Health Organization released a report on alcohol and health in 2014 revealing that alcohol influenced over 200 health conditions and diseases with an emphasis on cancers, liver cirrhosis, injuries, and DSM-IV alcohol dependence. The report covering these alcohol and cancer statistics also states that as of 2012, 5.1% of the burden of injury and disease all around the world was associated with alcohol consumption.


14. Over 10% of kids in the US live with a parent that has alcohol issues.

The condition can negatively affect children and even split the family, according to alcohol addiction statistics.


15. Globally, alcohol abuse was the fifth major risk factor in 2010 for disability and premature death.

This stat also shows that among individuals between the ages of 15 and 49, it’s the first risk factor for disability and premature death. About 25% of the total deaths occur among those between the ages of 20 and 39.


16. 33.1% of 15-year-olds report having had at least one drink so far in their lifetime.

These alcoholism statistics come from the 2015 NSDUH study, which also states that about 7.7 million individuals aged 12–20 reported drinking alcohol within a month of being surveyed (which accounts for 19.8% of men and 20.8% of women).


17. Drinking and driving accounts for over 30% of all driving deaths a year.

This is one of the stats on alcohol proving that people need to be educated on the dangerous consequences that come with drinking and driving.


18. More than 15 million individuals in the US struggle with alcohol use.

These statistics show that addiction is a problem for a large population of people, but less than 8% of them receive treatment for the condition.


19. More than 65 million Americans report binge drinking within a month of being surveyed.

Of those regularly drinking alcohol, the facts show that this number comprises more than 40% of them.


20. Teen alcohol use kills 4,700 individuals annually.

This accounts for more than all the deaths caused by illegal drugs. In addition, it’s estimated that drunk driving costs the US more than $199 billion yearly.


Alcoholism in Women

Alcoholism Statistics - Women

21. More than 5.3 million adult women have an alcohol use disorder.

These statistics on alcohol were provided by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. That’s a lot of people living with this disorder, and steps need to be taken to reduce the number.


22. About 45% of adult women report having drunk alcohol within a month of being surveyed.

In addition, women who engage in binge drinking have a higher probability of having sex without protection, increasing the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome statistics also show that this increases the risk of the child developing a birth defect.


23. About 1 in 2 females of childbearing age drink.

There can be dangerous results for the baby if the mother drinks while pregnant and continues to do so—either unknowingly or intentionally. Additional drug and alcohol statistics show that 18% of females in this age group binge drink (usually five drinks at once on average). Worse, excessive drinking can have other negative effects on a woman’s reproductive health. For example, it can disrupt the menstrual cycle and even lead to infertility.


24. The fetal alcohol syndrome facts indicate that 3 children out of 10,000 have this condition, according to a study focusing on children aged 7 to 9 years.

And we already know that these same children have a greater risk of developing severe physical and mental birth defects.


Alcohol and Sleep Statistics

25. About 20% of the adult population in the US drinks alcohol as a way to fall asleep.

According to these alcohol facts and statistics, many people drink alcohol before bed. In reality, alcohol is a strong somnogen (or sleep inducer). Scientists led by Mahesh Thakkar, Ph.D., have been studying the impacts of alcohol on sleep for over five years. They discovered that alcohol interferes with the brain’s ability to regulate a person’s need for sleep.


Alcohol and Sleep Apnea

26. The collective risk of obstructive sleep apnea in individuals who consume alcohol increased by 25%.

These alcohol facts were determined thanks to a pooled assessment of 21 studies in which comparative hazards were estimated. The results revealed that the general risk of obstructive sleep apnea rose by 25% among individuals who drank alcohol to a greater degree than people who consume low quantities of alcohol or none at all.


Alcohol and Sleep Deprivation Statistics

27. Patients in alcohol therapy reported insomnia rates of 25%–72%.

The level of sleep disruption is greater among the majority of patients with diagnosed alcohol dependence. However, differing definitions and measurements of insomnia and alcohol reliance make it hard to compare these studies.


28. 7% of people with insomnia report alcohol abuse.

The alcohol consumption statistics leading to this discovery are according to the epidemiological research from a large community sample. This statistic clearly shows the effects of alcohol on the body. The research also demonstrates how sleep disruption for at least two weeks can be a big risk factor for alcohol use disorders.


Alcohol and REM Sleep Statistics

29. 27 studies from a 2013 review show that alcohol use is a contributing factor to poor quality sleep.

This is one of the reasons people don’t get the right kind sleep after drinking alcohol. This is because alcohol prevents REM sleep, which is often deemed the most restorative form of sleep. You’re likely to wake up feeling unfocused and groggy with poor REM sleep.


30. The statistics about alcohol indicate that 40% of US citizens with PTSD have symptoms of an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

PTSD victims have a higher chance of developing alcoholism as a way to self-medicate. The seriousness and type of PTSD symptoms that they suffer contribute to their alcohol addiction.


Statistics on AA Meetings 

31. Alcoholics Anonymous mentions a success rate of 50%, with 25% staying sober after some relapses.

The alcohol relapse statistics since AA itself provides many of the group’s published success rates. However, because some participants choose to stay anonymous or don’t want to admit to a recurrence, there isn’t enough impartial information to assess these rates.


32. About 10% of the individuals who join a 12-step program report long-term recovery.

This is according to research published by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). However, participants also tend to drop out at a rate of 40% during their first year, causing group participation to alter frequently.


Some Popular Questions About Alcoholism

33. What percentage of drinkers are alcoholics?

Of the US adults who overdrink, only 10% are alcoholics. This is from a study by the CDC that broke down self-reported data acquired from more than 138,100 adults in the US. The study verified that 90% of heavy drinkers fell short of the standard requirements for alcoholism. Women who have eight or more drinks a week and men who drink fifteen or more are considered heavy drinkers.


34. What percentage of alcoholics die from alcoholism?

In 2012, 5.9% of all deaths were related to alcohol in some way. More specifically, 7.6% of those who suffered a fatality were men, and 4.1% were women. These stats also show that around the world, there were 3.3 million deaths with a connection to alcohol. 


35. What country has the highest alcoholism rate?

Belarus consumes 17.5 liters of pure alcohol per person. Studying the amount of pure alcohol gives a clearer picture than studying the overall number of drinks. This statistic lists Belarus as the country that consumes the most liters of pure alcohol per capita. According to the statistics, the countries that follow after Belarus are Moldova, Lithuania, and Russia with 16.8, 15.4 and 15.1 liters respectively.


36. How many drinks a day is considered what an alcoholic would drink?

Consuming more than four drinks for men and more than three drinks for women is heavy drinking. About a quarter of the individuals who exceed these boundaries have an alcohol use disorder. Even so, the remainder is in greater danger of developing an AUD or related issue. Individual risks also differ. Some people may have issues drinking less than these quantities, especially if they drink too fast.


37. How many die from alcohol annually?

From 2006 to 2010, alcoholism led to 88,000 deaths in the United States a year. This study also claims that their lives were shortened by an average of 30 years. Also, excessive drinking among working adults from the ages of 20 to 64 years was responsible for every one fatality out of 10.


38. How do people die from alcohol?

Over 3 million individuals died in 2016 as a consequence of damaging alcohol use. When it comes to the effects of alcohol, 28% of all alcohol-related fatalities resulted from injuries like traffic accidents, self-harm, and interpersonal violence; 21% from digestive disorders; 19% from cardiac illnesses; and the rest from infectious illnesses, cancers, mental illnesses, and other health conditions.


39. Is alcoholism genetic?

Genetics are the underlying cause of alcohol use disorder 50% of the time. A history of substance abuse in the family points to a person being more likely to struggle with issues relating to alcohol. The researcher also found that genetic factors represent 40%–60% of the difference between individuals struggling with alcohol use disorder.


40. Who drinks the most alcohol?

Men drink more alcohol than women by 11.1%. According to a survey by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 57.6% of men 12 years and older and 46.5% of women aged 12 years and older reported consuming a minimum of one alcoholic drink within 30 days of being surveyed.


41. What do alcoholics die of?

It was discovered that alcohol contributes to at least 60 different health conditions. Alcohol is one of America’s major causes of preventable death. Other deaths associated with alcohol are more immediate and include drunk driving and violence involving alcohol. More individuals die from drug overdoses than from alcohol, as shown in most alcohol poisoning facts. Additionally, a tiny proportion of all alcohol-related fatalities are due to actually overdrinking. Most alcoholics die of alcohol-related long-term health issues such as liver disease, heart problems, or cancer.


42. Is alcohol use linked to suicide?

It was discovered that 29% of suicide victims in America had alcohol in their system. Although alcohol can provide temporary relief from suicidal thoughts, it exacerbates the problem in the end. The alcohol addiction facts also show that mid-to-long-term alcohol abuse in most instances makes suicidal ideation both stronger and more common. Alcohol heightens the symptoms of many mental health circumstances such as borderline personality disorder and depression, which then increases the chances of attempted suicide.


43. Put simply, what’s the drunkest country?

In Moldova, the alcohol rate is 4.81 gallons per person (or 18.2 liters). This is according to a 2011 report by the WHO, which also states that consumption levels are usually highest in the developed globe, and abstention rates are usually highest in nations with large Muslim communities. The study examined the consumption of different types of alcohol, including spirits, beer, and wine.


44. What ethnicity drinks the most alcohol?

Native Americans are at a greater risk of drinking heavily, at 12.1%. This statistic is followed by white people (8.3%) and Hispanics (6.1%). A higher proportion of Native Americans (29.6%) also binge drink, with slightly reduced percentages for whites (25.9%), Hispanics (25.6%), and black people (21.4%).


Alcohol Myths and Facts

Alcoholism Statistics - Myths

There are several potentially dangerous myths about alcohol abuse:

Myth #1: Beer and wine won’t make you as drunk as hard liquor.

The various types of alcohol all essentially contain the same active ingredient.

Myth #2: Drinking isn’t an issue as long as you can hold your liquor. 

The truth is that drinking alcohol without feeling the influence might be an indication that you’re developing a tolerance for it. The drugs and alcohol facts all show that regular use of alcohol can be a risk factor for eventually developing an alcohol use disorder.

Myth #3: Coffee can help you sober up quickly.

Coffee includes caffeine, which is a stimulant that can make you feel awake and more alert. However, it doesn’t help you process the alcohol in your body. If you’ve been drinking, the best way to sober up is to give your body enough time to break down the alcohol in your system.

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week lets scientists and experts in the field of drug abuse correct the myths on drugs and alcohol. So many young people and teenagers become misinformed by watching movies and TV, listening to music, and talking to friends.


Drinking is often expected at certain social occasions, and even some red wine has some health benefits. However, consuming too much alcohol can be dangerous for your health. These alcoholism statistics should help you become more conscious of the hazards, demonstrating why it’s best to drink alcohol in moderation.