Alcohol use disorder is a common diagnosis in the United States. Statistics show that 1 in 12 men and 1 in 25 women suffer from a form of alcohol use disorder.
When it comes to alcohol use disorder, everyone is different. The condition can range from mild to severe, and symptoms will vary from person to person. That said, it is estimated that around 15 million adults in the United States suffer from alcohol use disorder (AUD).
If you think your loved one may be struggling with this condition, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Alcohol use disorder can lead to a number of serious problems, including health issues, financial problems, and relationship problems.
Getting treatment for alcohol use disorder can help your loved one get their life back on track and avoid these negative consequences.
Alcohol Use in the United States
Out of all the addictive substances available, alcohol is by far the most commonly consumed in the United States.
Adding to that, the 2019 NSDUH (National Survey on Drug Use and Health), revealed that 85.6 percent of people ages 18 or older reported consuming alcohol at some point in their lives, with about 70 percent reporting that they consumed alcohol in the past year and nearly 55 percent reporting that they consumed alcohol in the past month.
While most people who drink do so responsibly, there is a subset of individuals who drink excessively, which can lead to negative consequences for themselves and those around them.
What Is Considered 1 Drink?
In the United States, a standard drink contains 0.6 ounces (14 grams) of pure alcohol. This can be found in:
- A 12-ounce bottle of ordinary beer has about 5% alcohol
- A standard 5-ounce pour of wine is around 12% alcohol.
- A shot of spirits is 1.5 ounces and typically contains 40% alcohol.
It’s important to note that the actual alcohol content of a drink can vary depending on the type of alcoholic beverage and how it’s prepared. For example, some beers are now available that have an alcohol content of 8% or more. And wine coolers often have an alcohol content that is lower than that of wine.
What Is Excessive Drinking?
Excessive drinking includes heavy drinking, binge drinking, and drinking by those younger than 21 and pregnant women.
The definition of binge drinking is 4+ drinks in a short period of time for women and 5+ drinks in a short period of time for men. Heavy drinking for women is 8+ drinks a week. Heaving drinking for men is 15+ drinks a week.
Drinking any alcohol at all during pregnancy can be harmful to the developing baby. And alcohol consumption by people under the age of 21 is illegal in the United States.
Is Alcohol Use Disorder a Disease?
Yes, AUD is considered a disease by medical professionals. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), it’s classified as a substance use disorder.
Today, there is an ongoing crisis of middle-aged adults drinking too much alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), about 1 in 8 American adults (age 18 and older) suffer from AUD.
This fact was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The isolation and stress of the pandemic led many people to drink more alcohol than usual. In fact, a survey conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that 60% of adults reported drinking more during the pandemic.
What’s more, alcohol use disorder often goes hand-in-hand with other mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorders and depression. In fact, according to the NIAAA, about 50% of people with AUD also have a mental health disorder.
If you think a loved one may be struggling with AUD, it’s important to get them help as soon as possible. Left untreated, AUD can lead to serious problems, including liver damage, heart disease, and cancer. It can also impact your loved one’s relationships, job, and finances.
How Common Is Alcohol Use Disorder?
According to the NIAAA, about 15 million adults in the United States have an alcohol addiction. This number includes 8.4% of men and 4% of women.
The NIAAA reports that, in 2012, AUDs resulted in over 3.3 million deaths globally. These deaths were due to the negative effects of alcohol, such as car accidents, liver disease, and cancer.
However, the NIAAA also reports that there are emerging trends in alcohol abuse. For example:
- There is an increase in women who are diagnosed with AUDs.
- There is an increase in young people who are diagnosed with AUDs.
- There is an increase in the number of people who drink heavily (binge drinking).
- There is an increase in the number of people who drink alcohol on a daily basis.
These trends indicate that more people are at risk of alcohol use disorder developing. If you or someone you know suffers from alcoholism, it is important to get help. There are many resources available to help you through this difficult time.
Can People with AUD Recover?
Yes, people with AUD can and do recover. There are many different paths to recovery from AUD, and no one path is right for everyone. Some people may be able to quit drinking with outpatient treatment, while others may need inpatient treatment or a long-term residential program to assist with the withdrawal symptoms of AUD.
The most important thing for people with AUD is to get started on the road to recovery. Getting help early can make a big difference in the treatment of alcohol use disorder. People who get help for their drinking problem are more likely to be able to stay sober and avoid relapse than those who don’t get help.
If you think someone you know might have AUD, please contact NYC Addiction Resources today. Our staff is passionate about helping those struggling with addiction and can provide you with the resources and support you need to get started on a successful recovery.
We invite you to visit our site to learn more. You may also contact us directly at 718-208-4202. Help is available. Recovery is possible. Together, we can make a difference.