Addiction Alcohol Use The Impact of Alcoholism on Society By Buddy T Buddy T Facebook Twitter Buddy T is an anonymous writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism. Learn about our editorial process Updated on August 07, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Steven Gans, MD Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital. Learn about our Medical Review Board Fact checked Verywell Mind content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. We rely on the most current and reputable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact checked after it has been edited and before publication. Learn more. by Emily Swaim Fact checked by Emily Swaim LinkedIn Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell. Learn about our editorial process Print Richard Hutchings / Getty Images Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Society Financial Cost Aggression and Violence Impact on the Family The real-world impact of alcohol abuse reaches far beyond the financial costs. When a loved one has a problem with alcohol, it can affect their marriage and their extended family. There's also the larger impact on the community, schools, the workplace, the healthcare system and on society as a whole. How Alcoholism Affects Society Approximately 13.9% of people in the United States will meet the criteria for severe alcohol use disorder in their lifetimes, and alcohol is involved in more than 88,000 deaths per year. But it's not necessarily people who have alcohol addiction having the biggest impact on these figures. It's estimated that 77% of the cost of excessive alcohol consumption in the U.S. is due to binge drinking, and most binge drinkers are not alcohol dependent. Financial Costs of Alcoholism According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the cost of excessive alcohol use in the U.S. alone reaches $249 billion annually. Around 77% of that is attributed to binge drinking, defined as four or more alcoholic beverages per occasion for women or five or more drinks per occasion for men. The CDC estimates that 40% of the cost of binge drinking is paid by federal, state, and local governments. The biggest cost is loss of workplace productivity. Healthcare costs, crime and law enforcement, as well as motor vehicle crashes are also among the top alcohol-related expenses. The CDC estimates that these figures are all underestimated because alcohol's involvement in sickness, injury, and death is not always available or reported. These figures also do not include some medical and mental health conditions that are the result of alcohol abuse. Also not included in these figures are the work days that family members miss due to the alcohol problems of a loved one. Healthcare Expense of Alcohol Abuse Alcohol consumption is a risk factor in numerous chronic diseases and conditions, and alcohol plays a significant role in certain cancers, psychiatric conditions, and numerous cardiovascular and digestive diseases. Additionally, alcohol consumption can increase the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. An estimated $28 billion is spent each year on alcohol-related health care. How Alcohol Intoxication Increases Injury Risk Alcohol-Related Aggression and Violence Along with unintentional injury, alcohol plays a significant role in intentional injuries as a result of aggression and violence. Alcohol has been linked to physical violence by a variety of research studies. On top of the healthcare cost of alcohol-related intentional violence in the United States, the estimated annual cost to the criminal justice system is another $25 billion. Impact of Alcoholism on the Family The social impact of alcohol abuse is a separate issue from the financial costs involved, and that impact begins in the home, extends into the community, and often affects society as a whole, much like the financial impact does. Alcoholism as a Family Disease Research on the effects of alcohol abuse on families shows that alcohol abuse and addiction plays a role in intimate partner violence, causes families' financial problems, impairs decision-making skills, and plays a role in child neglect and abuse. As with the financial costs of alcohol abuse, studies have found occasional binge drinking can affect families also. Research suggests that the risk of intimate partner violence rises not only in the context of frequent drinking, but also when a partner has consumed a large volume of drinks in one sitting. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area. For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database. Alcohol Abuse and Children Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is one of the most common direct consequences of parental alcohol use in the United States, caused by alcohol consumption by the mother during pregnancy. Children with FAS display a variety of symptoms, many of which are lifelong and permanent. Children who grow up in a home with a loved one dealing with alcohol addiction may be affected as well; they are at significant risk to develop alcohol use disorders themselves. Growing up in a home where at least one parent has a severe alcohol use disorder can increase a child's chances of developing psychological and emotional problems. Challenges Faced by Children of Alcoholics 7 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Grant BF, Goldstein RB, Saha TD, et al. Epidemiology of DSM-5 Alcohol Use Disorder: Results From the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions III. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(8):757-766. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.0584 Esser MB, Hedden SL, Kanny D, Brewer RD, Gfroerer JC, Naimi TS. Prevalence of Alcohol Dependence Among US Adult Drinkers, 2009-2011. Prev Chronic Dis. 2014;11:E206. doi:10.5888/pcd11.140329 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Excessive Alcohol Use. Rehm J. The Risks Associated With Alcohol Use and Alcoholism. Alcohol Res Health. 2011;34(2):135-143. Wilson IM, Graham K, Taft A. Alcohol interventions, alcohol policy and intimate partner violence: a systematic review. BMC Public Health. 2014;14:881. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-881 Lander L, Howsare J, Byrne M. The Impact of Substance Use Disorders on Families and Children: From Theory to Practice. Soc Work Public Health. 2013;28(3-4):194-205. doi:10.1080/19371918.2013.759005 Moss HB. The Impact of Alcohol on Society: A Brief Overview. Soc Work Public Health. 2013;28(3-4):175-177. doi:10.1080/19371918.2013.758987 Additional Reading Sacks JJ, Gonzales KR, Bouchery EE, Tomedi LE, Brewer RD. 2010 National and State Costs of Excessive Alcohol Consumption. Am J Prev Med. 2015;49(5):e73-e79. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2015.05.031 By Buddy T Buddy T is an anonymous writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Get Treatment for Addiction Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.