Although alcoholism can be treated and many alcoholics are in
recovery, it cannot be cured at this time. Treatment can include
therapy along with medication and while alcoholism has many negative
effects on the body, the body can often repair or partially repair
itself when drinking has ceased. There are many interesting statistics
to be examined about alcoholism in its relation to different ethnic
and age groups along with frightening statistics about the harsh
effects alcohol abuse has on your body and on the economy.
Alcoholism and Ethnicity
Survey data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
(NIAAA) indicates that adult drinking (12 or more drinks in the
past year) and adult heavy drinking (five drinks on a single
day at least once a month) are most prevalent among American
Indians and Alaskan Natives and Native Hawaiians and the least
prevalent among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. However,
alcohol use is increasing quite a bit among Asian Americans,
one of the fastest growing U.S. minority group. Among adolescent
minorities studied nationwide, African Americans show the lowest
prevalence of lifetime, annual, monthly, daily, and heavy drinking,
as well as the lowest frequency of being drunk. Hispanic adolescents
have the highest annual prevalence of heavy drinking, followed
Alcoholism Statistics for Underage Drinkers
Drinking underage has been statistically proven to increase the
odds of developing alcohol dependence. Research indicates that
almost 50 percent of adolescents have had at least one drink
by the time they start eighth grade and over 20 percent report
having been “drunk”. People who begin drinking before
age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism dependence
at some time in their lives in comparison to those who have their
first alcoholic beverage at age 20 or older. Even with this proven
statistic, there are still over 30 percent of 12th graders that
engage in heaving drinking, better known as binge drinking, and
20 percent binge drink on more than one occasion. Binge drinking
is defined as having at least five or more drinks on one occasion.
Alcoholism Statistics on Liver Disease
According to the NIAAA, Alcoholic Liver Disease includes three
conditions: fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis.
Fatty liver, also known as steatosis, is the earliest stage of
ALD and can come about just from a few days of excessive drinking.
During steatosis the fat inside the liver cells builds up causing
a “fatty” liver. Steatosis can easily be reversed
when drinking stops.
If you continue to drink heavily for a longer period of time,
the damage to your liver may be more severe and possibly life threatening.
Drinking heavily for a long period of time can lead to an inflammation
of the liver called alcoholic hepatitis. A person suffering from
alcoholic hepatitis will have symptoms that include nausea, lack
of appetite, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain and tenderness, jaundice,
and, sometimes, mental confusion. If the excessive drinking continues,
the inflammation of alcoholic hepatitis can lead to alcoholic cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis of the liver occurs when healthy liver cells are replaced
by scar tissue (fibrosis). With this damage done to the cells of
the liver, the liver becomes increasingly unable to perform its
important functions in the body.
Here are some alcoholism statistics that involve damage to the
> 3 drinks or more at one time may have toxic effects on the
liver if mixed with over-the-counter medications like those with
> 70 percent of all people suffering from alcoholic hepatitis
eventually may develop cirrhosis of the liver.
> Liver cirrhosis was the 12th leading cause of death in the
United States in 2000.
> Liver cirrhosis is the fourth leading cause of death in people
> Women have a higher risk for developing cirrhosis than men.
Alcoholism Statistics Regarding Economics and Cost
While the severe health hazards of alcoholism have already been
established, many may not realize that alcoholism also can have
a devastating impact on the economic stability of alcoholics
and the economic impact on society. The overall economic cost
of alcohol abuse has been estimated at $185 billion. Here is
the breakdown on where that impact is being felt:
> $134.2 billion (over 70 percent) of estimated costs of alcohol
abuse were attributed to lost productivity, including $87.6 billion
from alcohol-related illness, $36.5 billion from premature death,
and $10.1 billion from crime
> $26.3 billion (14.3 percent) of estimated costs were due
to health care expenditures, including $7.5 billion to treat
alcohol abuse and dependence and $18.9 billion to treat adverse
consequences of alcohol consumption
> $15.7 billion (8.5 percent) of estimated costs were property
and administrative costs of alcohol-related car accidents
> $6.3 billion (3.4 percent) of estimated costs went into the
criminal justice system costs of alcohol-related crime