Statistics on Alcoholics

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited:  September 23 ,
| 3 Sources

The statistics on alcoholics are staggering. Alcoholism is a disease that affects all aspects of an individual's life, and can cause serious physical and mental health problems. The statistics don't lie; alcoholism is a huge problem in our society today. The purpose of this article will be to discuss some basic facts about alcoholism and provide tips for how you can help someone you know with this addiction . 

The following statistics on alcoholics might surprise you. Some of them surprised us.

It is an alcoholism fact that:

  • Alcohol is the number one drug problem in America.
  • There are more than 12 million alcoholics in the U.S.
  • Three-fourths of all adults drink alcohol, and 6% of them are alcoholics.
  • Americans spend $197 million each day on alcohol.
  • In the United States, a person is killed in an alcohol-related car accident every 30 minutes.
  • A study found nearly 7 million persons age 12 to 20 were binge drinkers.
  • Three-fourths of all high school seniors report being drunk at least once.
  • Adolescents who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become alcoholics than their counterparts who do not begin drinking until the age of 21.
  • People with a higher education are more likely to drink.
  • Higher income people are more likely to drink.

You should also know that anyone can be an alcoholic. Did it surprise you to learn that well-educated people are more likely to drink than less-educated people? And that wealthy people are more likely to drink than lower income people?

Many people assume that the opposite would be true. But white-collar workers can be alcoholics as well as blue-collar workers. Professional people, laborers, the unemployed, all can be alcoholics.

If you go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, you’ll find that only first names are used. Everyone is supposed to be anonymous. They are all considered equals.

It doesn't matter what they did before alcoholism took over their lives. What matters is what they are doing now to recover from their addiction.

People who attend AA meetings come from all walks of life, and most have no education beyond high school. Alcoholism has no social boundaries. It may be easier for someone with a college or professional degree to get into treatment, but anyone can ask for help when he wants it badly enough.

Remember that the statistics say that three-fourths of adults drink alcohol at least occasionally!

So don't think you know who could become an alcoholic just by looking at them. Pride often keeps people from admitting they need help. If you suspect someone might be an alcoholic, simply let him know you're concerned about him.

The statistics on alcoholism indicate that the sooner a person admits he has a problem and begins treatment, the better his chances for recovery.


“Other Victims”

The statistics on alcoholics that we listed above don’t include the “other victims,” those affected by alcohol though they are not alcoholics and may not even drink at all.

So consider the alcoholism fact that alcohol is a factor in the following:

  • 73% of all felonies
  • 73% of child beating cases
  • 41% of rape cases
  • 81% of wife battering cases
  • 72% of stabbings
  • 83% of homicides

In addition, the drinking and behavior of the alcoholic affect the family members of alcoholics. That means the alcoholics spouse and children suffer due to the alcoholic’s condition. So while there are 12 million alcoholics, there are an estimated 40 – 50 million people affected by alcoholism.

Statistics on alcoholics also tell us that alcoholism costs us about $60 billion each year, paying for things like traffic accidents, health care costs, and social programs that respond to alcohol problems. Alcoholism is expensive.

What do These Statistics on Alcoholics Mean?

Do your thoughts go out to that coworker or classmate whose drinking may be more than social, who might have a real problem with it, even though he's never said anything about it? Does your heart go out to the alcoholic family members you know, and do you feel compassion for their struggle with having an alcoholic in the family?

If so, these statistics on alcoholics give us a way of understanding how alcoholism affects us all. We are all linked by our common humanity. And when we reach out in love and compassion for people struggling with alcoholism, we strengthen ourselves as well.

You may have read an alcoholism fact here that surprised you. But what does it mean? And what can you do about it?

First of all, if you think you have a drinking problem, you should seek professional help. It can be hard to admit you have a problem. But that is the first step in changing things.

Secondly, if someone you love has a drinking problem, you can encourage them to seek help. However, you can’t make someone get help. If you are struggling to cope with a loved one’s drinking problem, consider attending an al-anon group. Al-anon is a program for people living with alcoholics. You can get much-needed support there.

Finally, you can join groups like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers), SADD (Students Against Drunk Drivers), or your local council against alcoholism, to work to prevent alcoholism and its consequences such as drunk driving.

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LPC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More

More statistics on alcoholics on our main alcohol statistics page

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