The New Numbers on Alcohol Abuse
According to a new report from the American Journal of Public Health, binge drinking and heavy drinking are on the rise. In fact, according to some reports, heavy drinking rose by 17.2% between 2005 and 2012. One of the reason for this large increase? Women are drinking more often and in larger amounts.
The report, complied by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations at the University of Washington, was published in late April. To generate it, researchers studied data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. This is a recurring phone survey conducted by the CDC.
Researchers examined almost four million Americans’ drinking patterns. It’s important to note they only looked at adults twenty-one and older, so these new statistics don’t reflect underage drinking trends.
This study, led by Dr. Ali Mokdad, a professor at the University of Washington and former CDC bigwig, is the first of its kind. No other survey, report, or study has examined adult drinking behavior on a national level.
The results? Well, find a full and detailed breakdown below, but the gist is that people are drinking more booze more often. The drinking patterns of women are especially concerning. Between 2002 and 2012, rates of binge drinking among women rose seven times more than similar rates among men.
Dr. Mokdad had the following to say about female alcohol consumption, “It seems like women are trying to catch up to the men in binge drinking…It’s really, really scary” (Kaiser Health News).
New Binge Drinking Statistics
The latest binge and heavy drinking statistics are in. The numbers are surprisingly high. Find a full breakdown below, but first it’s important to define what constitutes binge drinking and heavy drinking.
According the CDC, heavy drinking is when men have more than two drinks per day and women have more than one drink per day. Binge drinking, on the other hand, is when men have five or more drinks in one sitting and women have more than four drinks in one sitting. The timeframe used to measure both binge and heavy drinking is within the last month.
Find the newest statistics below!
- Between 2005 and 2012, the percentage of people who engaged in heavy drinking was between 2.4% and 22.4%. This averages to around 12.4% of all US drinkers.
- The percentage of people who engaged in binge drinking was between 5.9% and 36%. That averages to around 21% of all US drinkers.
- During this same period, binge drinking rates among women rose around 36%. Compare this to binge drinking rates among men, which rose only 23%.
- In 2010 upwards of 88,000 deaths were attributed to alcohol.
- Heavy drinking is estimated to cost the United States, and private companies, more than $220 billion dollars each year.
- Taxes on alcohol haven’t risen along with the cost of living. In effect, this makes alcohol cheaper now than in the past. Researchers believe this may be one of the causes of increased binge and heavy drinking.
- A study found that alcohol companies spent approximately $3.45 billion to promote their products in 2011 alone. Researchers suggest this as another possible cause of increased rates of alcohol abuse.
Why are Women Drinking so Much?
There isn’t a simple answer as to why women are drinking more often and in greater quantities than ever before. As noted above, researchers suggest the price of alcohol, mixed with the billions spent in advertising, may be a large influence. Unfortunately there’s not definitive proof about whether this is true.
I believe, and it’s been floated in discussions about this data, that changing societal roles have had a major impact on how women drink. This certainly makes sense to me. Think about it – fifty years ago, even twenty years ago, women simply didn’t have the freedom they have today. Broadly speaking, women were unable to go out and drink to excess.
Fast forward to today’s world. Society thinks nothing of a group of women going to the bar. In so many ways this is an amazing thing. In a world beseeched by racism, classism, ageism, and many other “-isms,” the freedom women have is remarkable. However, it can also result in unintended and negative consequences, like this recent rise in female alcohol abuse.
Are you struggling with binge drinking and alcohol abuse? Lighthouse Recovery Institute offers a full continuum of care for men and women in need of treatment for drug addiction and alcoholism. With comprehensive care, you can recover from addiction and be free from the obsession.
There’s no better time to get the help you need than now. Call Lighthouse for immediate support at 1-866-308-2090.