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Alcoholism Statistics And Important Facts

Alcoholism affects nearly fifteen million Americans.
Learn about alcohol addiction statistics, facts, signs and symptoms, and treatment options.

Alcohol Addiction Facts

Alcohol addiction is a chronic disease characterized by a preoccupation with alcohol and an inability to control drinking. Developing an addiction to alcohol can happen to anyone for many different reasons; there is no single reason alcohol addiction occurs.

Common Risk Factors of Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder can have a variety of negative effects on the mind and body. The most common risk factors of alcohol use disorder (AUD) include: 1

  • Genetics and family history
  • Underage drinking
  • Trauma
  • Mental health conditions
  • Male gender
  • Social factors like peer pressure or poor family support

Alcohol Addiction vs. Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence are often used interchangeably; however, they have distinct differences. Alcohol dependence refers to tolerance and withdrawal—the body adapts to the substance, needing more to achieve the same effects and experiencing mental or physical symptoms without it.

Alcohol addiction encompasses the full spectrum of alcoholism—including physical, mental, emotional, and social impacts.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction can induce physical and psychological effects on the body.

Physical Signs and Symptoms

Physical signs of alcoholism include:

  • Shakiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Sweatiness
  • Cravings
  • Weight changes
  • Disheveled appearance
  • Redness in the face
  • Skin infections

AUD can also lead to serious physical health issues like cirrhosis, cancer, gout, and cardiovascular problems.

Psychological Signs and Symptoms

Psychological alcohol addiction symptoms include:

  • Strong urge to consume alcohol
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Problems with memory
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety
  • Impaired learning ability and reduced cognitive function

It’s important to keep an eye out for warning signs of alcoholism in yourself or the people around you. Often feeling the urge to drink, binge drinking, and the inability to be in certain situations without drinking can indicate an alcohol use disorder.

Statistics by Gender

You might be wondering which gender is most commonly affected by alcoholism.

Men are more likely than women to drink excessively and engage in risky behavior that can go hand-in-hand with excessive drinking, such as using other substances and having multiple sex partners. These factors can put men’s health at significant risk.

Gendered Statistics on Alcohol Misuse

According to the 2019 NSDUH, alcohol addiction statistics by gender include:

  • 59% of adult men reported drinking alcohol in the past thirty days compared to 47% of adult women.
  • Men are nearly two times more likely to binge drink than women.
  • Approximately 22% of men reported binge drinking and doing so five times a month, consuming eight drinks per binge.
  • 7% of men had an alcohol use disorder compared to 4% of women.
  • 6.9% of males and 7.9% of females aged eighteen and older with alcohol use disorder received alcohol addiction treatment.

Alcohol Addiction Statistics By Varying Factors

The following include alcohol addiction statistics by age, gender, and recovery.

Statistics by Age

According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), underage alcohol addiction statistics include: 2

  • 39.7% of adolescents aged twelve to twenty reported having at least one drink in their lives.
  • Four hundred fourteen thousand adolescents aged twelve to seventeen had an alcohol addiction.

Are Adults Most Likely to Face Alcohol Addiction?

Statistics show that adults are most likely to face alcohol addiction:

  • The 2019 NSDUH reported that 14.5 million people in the United States aged twelve and older had alcohol use disorder.
  • In 2020, 11.1% of adults aged twenty-one to twenty-five reported using alcohol heavily, and 38.5% reported binge drinking. 3
  • A 2021 study found that 20% of seniors drank alcohol four or more times per week, 27% reported having six or more drinks at a time at least once in the last year, and 7% reported alcohol-related blackouts. 4

Statistics of Recovery

Although alcoholism is a growing issue, there are several effective treatment options. One challenge to recovery is that not everyone is willing to seek alcohol addiction treatment, even when it is accessible. Treatment includes rehab, therapy, medication, and other lifestyle changes.

Treatment Statistics

Treatment for alcoholism statistics include:

  • According to the 2019 NSDUH, only 7.3% of adults aged eighteen and older who had alcohol use disorder received alcohol addiction treatment in the past year.
  • The 2019 NSDUH shows less than 4% of people with AUD were prescribed medication approved by the FDA to treat alcoholism.
  • Fewer than one in ten people receive help for AUD in any given year. 5

Those who do seek treatment can find success and recovery. Recent studies show that the popular support group Alcoholics Anonymous can be particularly effective at improving addiction recovery. Alcohol addiction rehabilitation, detox, therapy for alcoholism, and medication can also be effective treatments.

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

While alcohol addiction facts and statistics can be disheartening, these statistics demonstrate the need for accessible treatment. The most effective treatment for alcoholism depends on the person and the severity of their addiction. Still, most agree that a combination of treatment methods produces the most successful recovery outlook.


For those with long-term alcohol use disorder or who drink very heavily, detox is the best first step to begin recovery. During detox, medical professionals safely and carefully monitor clients as the alcohol is expelled from the body. This process generally takes less than a week, and doctors may prescribe medication to minimize unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.


Also called residential treatment, inpatient treatment requires clients to stay at a facility throughout the duration of their initial treatment. This is a good option for those with severe AUD who require intensive, twenty-four-seven care. Lasting thirty days or more, treatment is prioritized by compassionate and caring medical staff, therapists, and counselors who help heal and teach people how to cope without alcohol.


Outpatient treatment provides intensive therapy, counseling, and medical treatment without requiring people to stay at the treatment center. Instead, clients visit the recovery center a few hours per day, several times a week, allowing them to continue their regular routine. This is a more convenient and cost-effective option for those with a less severe alcohol addiction or who have engagements preventing inpatient treatment.

Get Treatment at San Diego Detox

At San Diego Detox, clients can find the treatment that works for them, whether it’s an effective detox program or comprehensive inpatient care. San Diego Detox offers several different types of therapy, alcohol addiction counseling, and a range of holistic treatments to suit each individual’s unique needs. 

People with alcoholism can recover with the proper treatment, and San Diego Detox could be the perfect place to begin the journey to recovery. Reach out today to learn more.