Alcohol Abuse Facts


Irresponsible and abusive drinking usually results in various alcohol-related long term effects that are highly correlated with different diseases, medical issues, and illnesses.

Unfortunately, binge drinking, even if done only once or a few times per year, is a form of alcohol abuse which, in some instances, can be fatal.

What is more, long term alcohol abuse can eventually result in alcohol dependence which is a type of drug addiction.


What is Alcohol Abuse?

Many people think that alcohol abuse and alcoholism are the same. This is incorrect.

Definition of Alcohol Abuse. Alcohol abuse is defined as a pattern of drinking that results in one or more of the following circumstances in a twelve-month time frame:

  • Drinking in situations that can result in physical injury such as operating machinery.

  • Continued drinking in spite of ongoing relationship problems that are the result of drinking.

  • Failure to attend to important responsibilities at home, work, or school.

  • Experiencing recurring alcohol-related legal problems. Examples include getting arrested for damaging someone's property, receiving a DUI, or for physically hurting someone while drunk.

Unfortunately, the manifestation of any or all of these issues is often a red flag that the person is engaging in abusive drinking.

A Definition of Alcoholism

To understand the differences between alcohol abuse and alcoholism, we will provide a definition of alcoholism.

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol addiction or alcohol dependence, is a form of drug addiction and is a disease that includes the following symptoms:

  • Loss of control: The inability to limit one's drinking over time or on any given occasion.

  • Craving: A strong and continuing compulsion or need to drink.

  • Tolerance: The need to drink increasing amounts of alcohol in order to "feel the buzz" or to "get high."

  • Physical dependence: alcohol withdrawal symptoms when a person stops drinking after a period of excessive drinking. Such symptoms include: "the shakes," nausea, anxiety, and sweating.

When looking at alcohol abuse and alcoholism one key factor is worth mentioning.

The longer a person engages in alcohol abuse, the higher the probability that he or she will eventually become alcohol dependent.

Stated differently, those who engage in long term alcohol abuse are increasing their risk of becoming an alcoholic down the road.

Facts on Alcohol: Causes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

A question that has entered the minds of many people is the following: why can some individuals drink alcohol without encountering any difficulties or negative consequences while others cannot?

Stated differently, what is about alcohol that leads some people to abuse and addiction while for others, enjoyment and moderation prevail?

One answer to this question concerns genetics.

More to the point, researchers have found that having an alcoholic family member increases the risk of developing alcohol abuse or alcoholism.

In fact, there may be a genetic predisposition for certain people becoming "problem drinkers."

In addition, research scientists have discovered that various environment factors can interact with one's genetics, the result being that both of these components can influence the development of alcohol related difficulties such as alcohol abuse.

Examples of these environmental aspects include where and how a person lives, a person's culture, peer influences, the relative ease of obtaining alcohol, and one's family and friends.

Regrettably, once alcohol abuse starts, the behavior in many instances continues and can result in long term health, legal, and social difficulties and other types of alcohol abuse problems.

Also unfortunate is the number of documented cases of adolescent alcohol abuse and youth alcohol abuse, especially the abuse of alcohol that takes place in high schools and on college campuses.

Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Statistics

There are certain words that almost always go together. Examples include the following: peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese, and unfortunately, abuse and alcohol.

Regrettably, the widespread dangers and destruction of alcohol abuse and alcoholism do not necessarily make a full impact on people until they are introduced to relevant statistics.

As a result, we decided to include a few highly significant alcoholism statistics and alcohol abuse statistics.

Such alcohol abuse and alcoholism signs AND Statistics, it is asserted, will not only help put abusive drinking in a more understandable perspective, but it might help lead to more effective alcohol abuse and alcoholism prevention.

According to a study undertaken by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University in 2005, the following alcohol abuse statistics and alcoholism facts and statistics were discovered:

  • According to alcohol abuse and alcoholism facts uncovered by alcohol research, American youth who drinking before the of age 15 are four times more likely to become alcoholics than young people who do not drink before the age of 21. This statistic focuses on the importance of drinking at a later rather than at an earlier age. This statistics also points out very clearly how abuse and alcohol go together, even for teenagers.

  • The 25.9% of underage drinkers who are alcohol abusers and alcohol dependent drink 47.3% of the alcohol that is consumed by all underage drinkers.

  • Every day in the U.S. more than 13,000 children and teens take their first drink. Among other things, this means that many of these teens will understand first hand the relationship between abuse and alcohol.

  • Every year, 1,400 American college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related accidents and injuries, including motor vehicle accidents. Traffic fatalities, perhaps more than any other statistics, point out the devastating realities that often result from alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

  • In the United States during 2004, 16,694 deaths occurred as a result of alcohol-related motor-vehicle crashes. This amount was approximately 39% of all traffic fatalities. This amounts to one alcohol-related death every 31 minutes. This statistic, quite honestly, is overwhelming. Talk about abuse and alcohol---one alcohol related traffic fatality every 31 minutes and the grief and devastation suffered from these deaths is beyond comprehension.
  • Here's one of the alcohol abuse and alcoholism facts and an alcohol statistic that though logical, is something that most drinkers and non-drinkers probably do not know: The 9.6% of adult alcoholics drink 25% of the alcohol that is consumed by all adult drinkers.

  • Every year in the U.S. more than 150,000 college students develop health problems that are alcohol-related. This is additional evidence that alcohol abuse and alcoholism, unfortunately, are intimately interrelated to one another.

  • Alcohol abuse and alcoholism cost the United States an estimated $220 billion in 2005. This dollar amount was more than the cost associated with cancer ($196 billion) and obesity ($133 billion). Though dollar amounts like this are hard to comprehend, at least they make an attempt at placing a dollar value on the relationship of abuse and alcohol.

Alcohol Abuse Facts About Binge Drinking

It appears that many people do not understand that getting drunk "only" once or twice per year is neither "drinking in moderation" nor "responsible drinking."

In fact, there is a term for this kind of occasional alcohol abuse: binge drinking.

Binge drinking is defined as having four or more drinks at one sitting for women and five or more drinks at one sitting for men.

Stated another way, when an individual consumes an excessive amount of alcohol over a short period of time, or abuse is continuous over a number of days or weeks, this is called intensive use, bingeing, or binge drinking.

Obviously, binge drinking perfectly illustrates the relationship that exists between abuse and alcohol and is one of the most dangerous alcohol abuse problems that a person can experience.


It is interesting to note that hangovers are frequently more common in light to moderate drinkers than in heavy and chronic drinkers, suggesting that binge drinking can be as threatening as chronic drinking.

Therefore any man who drinks more than five drinks or any woman who has more than four drinks in one sitting is at risk for a hangover.

When used intelligently, such alcohol abuse signs can help prevent abusive drinking as well as hangovers.

Binge drinking not only significantly increases the risk of injury and contracting sexually transmitted diseases, but it can also result in alcohol poisoning.

Considering the fact that 60 percent of American men between the ages of 18 and 25 binge drink and in 2002, a reported 2.6 million U.S. binge drinkers were between the ages of 12 and 17, binge drinking is not only extremely dangerous and potentially fatal, but it is also a drinking pattern that affects millions of teens, pre-teens, and young adults.

To state the obvious, people who regularly engage in binge drinking need alcohol abuse help because they are actively engaging in abusive drinking.

Alcohol Long Term Effects and Long Term Alcohol Abuse

Research demonstrates the fact that long term abusive drinking typically results in a number of negative alcohol long term effects.

For instance, one of the more common long term alcohol-related effects concerns liver disease such as hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver.

Pancreatitis, the inflammation of the pancreas, is also highly correlated with long-term alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

Another one of the more common alcohol long term effects concerns the many different types of cancer that are directly or indirectly interlinked with long-term abusive drinking.

Examples include cancer of the throat, kidneys, colon, liver, mouth, rectum, voice box, and esophagus.

Vitamin deficiencies, sexual problems, and ulcers also result from long term alcohol abuse.

And finally, another of the more typical of the alcohol long term effects are various circulatory disease such as strokes and heart disease.

In sum, it can be determined that chronic abusive and excessive drinking directly or indirectly manifests itself as health-related diseases, illness, and medical problems.

Alcohol Abuse Treatment

In spite of the fact that alcohol abuse is not the same thing as alcoholism, alcohol abuse is a serious problem in the United States.

In fact, roughly 14 million Americans currently abuse alcohol or are alcohol dependent.

Not only this, but several million more Americans engage in risky drinking patterns such as binge drinking that could lead to chronic alcohol abuse or to alcohol dependency.

Based on the significance of this condition, there are many alcohol abuse therapeutic approaches and methodologies that help those who abuse alcohol either significantly reduce the amount and the frequency that they drink or help them totally abstain from drinking.

Due to the significance of alcohol abuse, some individuals are sure to ask the following question: "What is the most effective type of alcohol abuse treatment"?

Although there are many effective alcohol abuse and alcoholism treatment approaches, individuals who abuse alcohol have to first realize that they have a drinking problem before they can get the assistance they need.

Once involved in treatment, furthermore, problem drinkers need to "buy into" and follow through with the treatment protocol if they are to overcome their drinking problems.

In a word, those who abuse alcohol need to either want to quit drinking altogether or learn how to drink in moderation in order for their treatment to become successful.

Alcohol Abuse Treatment

It is important to note that if you see your family members or friends displaying any of the above listed behaviors, consider them as signs of alcohol abuse that could possibly reveal the need for professional alcohol treatment.

Although some individuals are able to recover from chronic alcohol abuse without medical or personal help, many, if not most, people who regularly abuse alcohol need professional assistance.

Fortunately, through alcohol treatment, many individuals who abuse alcohol are able to always drink in moderation or totally abstain from drinking and reclaim their lives.

Conclusion: Alcohol Abuse Facts

Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that results in ongoing alcohol-related relationship problems; the failure to attend to important responsibilities at home, work, or at school; the experience of recurring alcohol-related legal problems; and/or drinking situations that can result in physical injury.

Unfortunately, long-term, chronic alcohol abuse and alcoholism results in a number of negative alcohol long term effects that manifest themselves as health-related drinking problems such as binge drinking, liver disease, cancer, pancreatitis, heart disease, and strokes.

When focusing on various alcohol abuse and alcoholism facts and statistics, it becomes apparent that continued, repetitive abusive drinking usually results in a number of alcohol related problems.

To make matters worse, people who engage in long term alcohol abuse also increase the chances that they will eventually become alcohol dependent.

In other words, the longer problem drinkers exhibit abusive drinking, the more likely they will become dependent on alcohol.

Unfortunately, for many people, abuse and alcohol go together similar to the way that peanut butter and jelly go together: it appears difficult to engage in one activity without the presence of the other.

There are social, behavioral, psychological, physical, and health aspects about abusive drinking that ironically lead to and also result from alcohol abuse.

According to alcohol abuse and alcoholism facts and research, regrettably, at some point, the line between alcohol abuse and alcoholism becomes blurry and the problem drinker makes the transition from being able to control his or her drinking to a total lack of control.

This is especially unfortunate when teen alcohol abuse or alcohol abuse in teens is considered.

In accordance with the research literature about underage drinking, the earlier and the more frequently a youth starts to drink alcohol, the more likely he or she will eventually abuse alcohol, which can in turn, lead to alcohol dependency.

The bottom line: what is it about alcohol abuse and alcoholism that is worth the ill health, relationship problems, financial difficulties, employment issues, and education problems that are typically associated with excessive, abusive drinking?

In short, you need to learn how to read the alcohol abuse signs and alcoholism signs so you can get the treatment you need and avoid the alcohol long term effects that are often associated with hazardous and irresponsible drinking.

The important point to keep in mind regarding this article is the following: The more alcohol is consumed in an abusive manner, the more likely it is that the drinker will become an alcoholic.


If this describes you, then you need to be honest with yourself and admit that you have a drinking problem.

Once you have taken this step, consider making it a priority to talk with an alcohol abuse and alcoholism professional about getting alcohol treatment as soon as possible.