Alcohol Use Statistics In The United States (2023)
Over 14 million Americans had some form of an alcohol use disorder as of 2019.
An alcohol use disorder is any form of long-term alcohol consumption that harms your health. While millions of Americans have some form of an AUD diagnosis, very few look for or get treatment. Many others may also struggle with alcohol problems without a diagnosis.
Meeting The Criteria For An Alcohol Use Disorder
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, lists alcohol use disorder as a mental health disorder. Published in 2013, it judges the severity of an AUD depending on how many potential problem drinking habits you have.
Potential problem drinking habits include an inability to stop drinking, experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit and having your thoughts and daily life revolve around drinking.
The criteria for an AUD may change over time, as seen in the changes made from the DSM-IV to the DSM-5. If you think yourself or a loved one may meet the criteria, it can help to get an opinion from a medical professional.
AUDs In High-Risk Groups
Data from the CDC, SAMHSA and other organizations shows that people in some demographics are at a higher risk for an AUD diagnosis than others. Risk factors for AUD include younger age groups, a history of mental health problems, and others.
Avoiding alcohol completely is one of the best ways to avoid an AUD. However, over 55% of U.S. adults reported the use of alcohol at least once in the past month.
Combined with other risk factors, many Americans may be at higher risk of alcohol addiction or alcohol dependence than they realize.
Underage Drinking (Ages 12 to 17)
Underage drinking is declining in the United States, but teenagers who drink are at an increased risk of alcohol-related causes of death, such as car crashes. Additionally, people who start drinking in middle or high school have a higher chance of developing an AUD in their adult life.
Young Adults (Ages 18 to 25)
In 2019, 9.3% of U.S. adults aged 18 to 25 had an alcohol use disorder, compared to 5.1% of U.S. adults aged 26 or older. AUDs in both age groups are down slightly compared to 2016, but chronic alcohol misuse is still more prevalent in younger adults compared to older adults.
The legal age for drinking alcohol in the United States ranges from 18 to 21. Depending on where you live, consuming alcohol in this age range may be legal or illegal.
College students aged 18 to 25 may be a higher-risk group compared to non-college students in the same age range. College students have higher reported rates of heavy drinking, binge drinking, and other potential AUD signs compared to non-college students of the same age.
Men & Women With AUDs
Eight percent of U.S. adult men have an alcohol use disorder, compared to four percent of U.S. adult women. Additionally, men binge drink and take part in heavy drinking more often than women. However, women may be at a higher risk for the severe health effects of alcohol.
Women with AUD have a higher risk of long-term liver damage, including liver cirrhosis, liver disease, and hepatitis compared to men with AUD.
Pregnant or nursing women who drink alcohol can expose their unborn or recently-born children to alcohol, resulting in fetal alcohol syndrome.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment Plans
Data from 2019 shows that only about 7 percent of people with an alcohol use disorder received treatment in the past year. Despite efforts to spread awareness of AUD as a serious mental disorder, many people still go without treatment.
Not seeking treatment may put your health at risk, as AUDs are linked to liver problems, brain damage, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, alcohol poisoning, and other serious health conditions. Alcohol treatment programs can treat AUD in a wide variety of ways depending on your needs.
A fitting inpatient or outpatient treatment program can reduce your need for alcohol and help you stay away from alcoholic beverages long-term. To find the best treatment available for you, talk to your healthcare professional or contact us today.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Excessive Alcohol Use
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Alcohol Facts and Statistics
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Women and Alcohol
National Institutes of Health — NIAAA Publications
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — ALCOHOL USE
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — Webcast Slides for the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)
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