Alcohol Addiction Facts

18 Aug

Definition of Alcohol Addiction and Alcoholism


“An addiction to or dependency upon drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.”


What actually makes up a single drink?

“Do you know…. what’s considered 1 drink?”

A standard drink is considered:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of straight liquor

….and that the USDA defines a moderate drinker like so:

  • For women: Up to 1 drink a day
  • For men: Up to 2 drinks a day

Moderate alcohol use, as defined above, is not harmful to most adults.


Facts and Data on How Much People Drink

Approximately 17.5 million adults in the USA have problems with alcohol.


A 2009 survey of Americans aged 12 and up showed that in the last 30 days:

  • Over 50% of people used alcohol one or times
  • Almost 25% had bing drinked one or more times
  • Almost 7% had bing drinked 5 or more times

The same survey showed that for respondents strictly between ages 12-17, in the 30 days, that:

  • Almost 15% had one or more drinks
  • Almost 9% engaged in binge drinking


Alcohol Addiction Facts: Treatment

The vast majority of people who are alcohol dependent or abusing alcohol have two things in common: they don’t seek treatment and they don’t feel like they need to receive treatment.


The data in 2007 breaks down like this:

  • Roughly 8% of people over the age of 12 needed alcohol treatment in the last year. That’s almost 20 million people.
  • Almost 90% of those people did not receive treatment and felt no need for treatment
  • The rest is split between people who did receive treatment (at a professional treatment facility) and people who didn’t receive treatment but felt they needed it.

For the small percentage of people who said they needed treatment but didn’t receive, two reasons why stand out in the data:

  • They weren’t ready to stop drinking
  • The costs associated with treatment


What Makes Someone a Heavy Drinker?

“Do You Know… what is considered heavy drinking?”

Many people are surprised at how little it takes to be considered a heavy drinker, as defined by the CDC.

  • For men, drinking more than 2 drinks a day on average is considered heavy drinking.
  • For women, drinking more than 1 drink a day on average is considered heavy drinking.


Survey on 5 or More Drinks a Day

Here are the results of another survey on alcohol consumption at 5 drinks in a single day among American adults, broken down by race and gender.

Data on 5 or More Drinks a Day 2

Data on 5 or More Drinks a Day 2

Image Source and Data Explanation

Deaths Attributed to Alcohol

  • Through 2001 to 2005, there were nearly 80,000 deaths a year attributed to excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Excessive drinking is the 3rd leading life-style related cause of death in the USA.


  • Deaths by Liver Disease: 14,406 People a Year
  • Number of Alcohol Related Deaths: 23,199 Deaths a Year (Excluding Accidents / Homicides)


Definition of Binge Drinking

“Do You know….how much does it take to binge drink?”

Many people are surprised at the data on binge drinking.

  • For women, in means having 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours in a single occasion.
  • For men, it means having 5 or more drinks in about 2 hours or in a single occasion.


Binge Drinking By State

Binge Drinking Data by State

Image Source and Explanation of Data

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