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Alcohol Addiction Facts and Statistics

by | Published on Jul 29, 2014 | Rehab Programs

Alcohol is one of the most commonly misused substances in the world, maybe because it’s also the most socially-accepted substance out there. In 2018, almost 86 percent of people aged 18 and older said they used alcohol at least once in their lifetime. Many don’t realize the realities of alcohol addiction and its consequences on themselves, their family, and family members. However, when people look at real alcohol addiction facts and statistics, they might look at the substance with different eyes. 

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism, is a chronic disease that can affect anyone. There isn’t a single cause linked to the condition. Instead, experts believe it’s a mix of genetics, sex, race, socioeconomics, and behavioral factors that contribute. 

While some people believe alcoholism is a choice, it’s a real disease. Alcohol addiction can lead to changes in the brain and its neurochemistry that might lead to alcoholics not being able to control their actions. 

Facts About Alcohol Addiction

5 Interesting Alcohol Addiction Facts You Should Know

Although it’s been around for decades, people still don’t know all the facts about alcohol addiction. To many, this disease is only a choice, and most don’t even know there’s a difference between alcohol abuse and addiction. To better understand this disease that affects thousands of people worldwide, we have to look at current alcohol addiction facts. 

1. Alcohol is the Liver’s #1 Enemy

Alcohol’s impact on the liver is perhaps the most commonly known fact. People are shocked when they find out that in 2018, around 50 percent of liver disease deaths involved alcohol — on men only. Among females, the rate involving alcohol is close to 44 percent. 

Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is the core of most alcoholic beverages. Heavy drinking overwhelms the liver and prevents it from working at its best, causing excess alcohol to reach other organs in the body. 

2. Men are More Likely to Struggle with Alcoholism

Consistently, men are more likely than women to struggle with alcohol abuse. Not to mention, they are twice as likely to be involved in an alcohol-related fatal accident. 

Men metabolize alcohol differently than women. The differences in muscle-to-fat ratio, the water concentration in the body, and other elements are crucial. Men are more likely to drink excessively and engage in high-risk behavior, leading to a higher incidence of deaths and hospitalizations. 

3. Genetics Play a Significant Role in Alcohol Addiction

While there are many risk factors for developing an alcohol-use disorder, genetics plays a significant role. Many experts believe that genes and the environment are the critical factors for alcoholism. However, they don’t think it’s a single gene. Instead, a series of genetic interactions that impact the risk of developing the disease and the response the body might have to specific treatment efforts. 

4. The Brain Changes

The reason alcoholism is a disease comes down to its effect on the brain. Our brains work by adapting to our environment, hopping to always function, and executing at its best. But, when you consistently drink alcohol, the brain reinterprets it as a new environment and changes to help you function better with alcohol. This is why many recovering alcoholics still struggle with the same problems throughout their lives, even after years of being sober. 

5. Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism are Different

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism differ significantly, is, in particular, the most shocking alcohol addiction fact. When we talk about alcohol abuse, we refer to drinking in a way that causes problems in someone’s life. Nearly 17 million Americans have an alcohol abuse disorder. In contrast, alcoholism provokes changes to the brain’s neurons that create obsession and make people drink even when they don’t intend.

Alcohol Addiction Statistics

Alcohol Addiction Statistics

When it comes to alcohol addiction statistics, the numbers don’t lie — there’s a massive problem in this country and around the world. Here are some of the most shocking numbers to date:

  • Alcoholism is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States with 88,000 Americans dying each year.
  • More than 10 percent of U.S. children live with a parent with alcohol abuse problems.
  • Close to 12.7 percent of American adults meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder (AUD), which means 1 in 8 adults.
  • Alcohol-related liver disease was the primary cause of almost 1 in 3 liver transplants in the United States in 2009.
  • Roughly 17% of men and 8% of women will be dependent on alcohol in their lifetime.
  • Teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are more likely to develop alcohol dependence later on.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Addiction to alcohol is widespread, but those ready to break the addiction cycle can find hope in treatment. Cutting alcohol cold-turkey can be challenging as most people will experience severe withdrawal symptoms. 

It’s paramount to speak with an addiction treatment specialist to determine the best way to start seeking help for alcohol addiction. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our alcohol addiction recovery programs include:

Alcohol Medical DetoxA clinically supervised detox process held in addiction treatment centers ensures the patient’s safety and makes the withdrawal phase as comfortable as possible. 

Intensive Outpatient ProgramsFor patients looking to seek addiction treatment while maintaining daily obligations like work, school, or caregiving, IOPs offer more flexibility. These programs include services like behavioral therapy to manage addiction. Most people struggling with alcohol abuse choose these programs. 

Long-term Recovery ProgramsIt’s easy to relapse after treatment; almost sixty percent of people relapse. Long-term recovery assistance, patients can have the ongoing support they need to maintain long-lasting sobriety, especially when people with alcohol addiction tend to struggle with related problems all their lives. 

Group TherapyAs part of an alcohol addiction treatment program, patients often find group therapy helpful. So our team integrates Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) meetings and other group therapy settings to assist in the recovery phase. 

Get Help Today

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction, seek help immediately. Call Lighthouse Recovery Institute today and speak with our addiction center specialists to learn more about our comprehensive and personalized addiction treatment programs.

Our philosophy revolves around treating each patient on a case-by-case scenario because we know no two addiction stories are alike. Start walking towards your recovery, and we’ll be here supporting you and your family every step of the way. Please don’t wait another day to start addiction treatment–your life depends on it. 

Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine is Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Digital Marketing Manager. She has a Bachelor’s in Journalism and experience in the digital media industry. Geraldine’s writing allows her to share valuable information about mental health, wellness, and drug addiction facts, hoping to shed light on the importance of therapy and ending the stigma.
Medical Disclaimer:

Lighthouse Recovery Institute aims to improve the quality of life for anyone struggling with substance use or mental health disorder. We provide fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their outcomes. The material we publish is researched, cited, edited, and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide in our posts is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be used in place of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider.

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