Alcohol-Related Deaths On The Rise In The U.S.

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on March 22, 2023

Alcohol abuse has caused more deaths in recent years than the opioid epidemic. Some people have a difficult time stopping their use of alcohol, but recovery is possible with addiction treatment.

Rise In Alcohol-Related Deaths

Alcohol abuse and alcohol-related deaths are on the rise in the U.S., according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Each year from 2015 to 2019, more than 140,000 people, or about 380 per day, died in the U.S. from excessive alcohol use.

Alcohol use disorder is a mental health disorder that involves craving alcohol, not being able to stop using alcohol, and other changes in thoughts and behavior.

Although alcohol abuse isn’t curable, addiction treatment programs can help people recover, avoid relapse, and live a sober life.

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Effects Of Alcohol Abuse

The 2022 CDC alcohol study stated that the hardest-hit demographic regarding alcohol-related deaths were men ages 35 and older.

The majority of the 140,000 alcohol-related deaths occurred due to health effects developed over years of alcohol abuse including cancer, liver disease, and heart disease.

One reason it can be difficult for people to stop drinking is because of alcohol withdrawal symptoms which can induce anxiety, nausea, tremors, and seizures.

The Tie Between The COVID-19 Pandemic And Alcohol Use

Although the CDC’s new study stopped short of the COVID-19 pandemic, initial data did show that more people were drinking excessive amounts of alcohol during the start of the pandemic.

This mirrors other reports showing that substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders increased during this time.

One explanation for the rise in mental health disorders during the pandemic is the collective stress people across the world felt.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a source of trauma for some, especially those who were hospitalized, lost a loved one or a job, or experienced other stressful events.

Studies show a link between trauma and addiction to alcohol and other substances. Substance use is one way some people self-medicate to deal with difficult emotions.

Trauma has also been linked with chronic pain, which can lead to prescription opioid abuse and other drug abuse.

Treatment Programs For Alcohol Use Disorder

Addiction treatment programs at rehab facilities offer comprehensive recovery care for people with alcohol addiction.

This may include medical detox, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), 12-step groups, holistic therapy, aftercare, and more.

Each person’s experience with alcohol abuse is different, and so too will be their steps toward recovery.

Working with compassionate healthcare professionals helps ensure that detox is safe, any underlying issues are identified and worked through, and relapse is prevented.

Get Help For Alcohol Addiction Today

If you or someone you love is living with alcohol addiction, help is available.

Call our helpline to get connected with a specialist who can help you find an alcohol treatment program near you.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on March 22, 2023
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