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Updated on July 31, 2023
7 min read

Alcohol Recovery, Relapse & Sobriety Statistics

If you are struggling with a drinking problem, you’re not alone. Millions of people worldwide are fighting to keep their sobriety from slipping away. And in some cases, regression is unavoidable.

But why do alcoholics relapse, and how prevalent is this issue? Take a look at the most recent recovery, relapse, and sobriety statistics on alcohol use disorder (AUD) to help you better understand the scope of this issue.

Alcohol Abuse & Addiction Statistics

  1. An estimated 29.5 million people in the U.S. battled AUD in 2020. Those aged 12+ made up 10.6% of the population.1
  2. 16.6 million males and 13 million females aged 12+ had AUD in 2020, representing 12.1% and 9.1% of the age groups, respectively.1
RaceAge groupNumber of persons with AUDPortion of the age group
White 12+18.7 million11.0%
Latino or Hispanic12+5.1 million10.3%
African American or Black 12+3.5 million10.1%
Asian12+982,0006.0%
People of two or more races12+790,00014.7%
Alaska Native or American Indian12+280,00015.6%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander12+144,00014.0%
  1. 894,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 demonstrated signs of AUD in 2020. That's 3.4% of that age group.1
  2. Of those 894,000 young persons, boys represented 2.2% of the age group at 298,000, and girls made up 4.7% at 596,000.1
RaceAge groupNumber of persons with AUDPortion of the age group
White 12 to 17526,0004.0%
Latino or Hispanic12 to 17235,0003.5% 
African American or Black 12 to 1748,0001.4%
People of two or more races12 to 1731,0003.4%
Asian, Alaska Native or American Indian, and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander12 to 17NANA
  1. 28.6 million Americans aged 18+, representing 11.3% of all adults, suffered from AUD in 2020.1
  2. Of those 28.6 million, 16.3 million males and 112.4 million females aged 18+ represented 13.2% and 9.5% of the age groups, respectively.1
RaceAge groupNumber of persons with AUDPortion of the age group
White 18+18.2 million11.5%
Latino or Hispanic18+4.9 million11.4%
African American or Black 18+3.4 million11.1%
Asian18+964,0006.4%
People of two or more races18+759,00017.0%
Alaska Native or American Indian18+270,00016.7%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander18+118,00013.4%
  1. Research shows an estimated 280 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the disease in 2018.2
  2. There were 14.8 million Americans diagnosed with AUD in 2021. Men comprised the majority of those affected at 61.74%, followed by women (35.57%) and adolescents (2.69%).13
  3. Although the majority of American adults partake in alcohol consumption at least once, 6.7% will eventually develop the disease.13
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Alcohol Rehab Statistics

  1. Only one-third of those with AUD try and give up drinking annually.3
  2. Barely one in four (25%) of those 1/3 of people attempting to quit remain sober for over a year.3
  3. When prisoners with addiction continue with addiction treatment even after leaving jail, their drug or alcohol use goes down by 50 to 70%.4
  4. About 40 to 60% of people who are recovering alcoholics or drug users may return to using them.5
  5. A total of 574,148 people sought alcohol addiction treatment in 2019. Of those admissions, 321,789 were solely due to alcohol use, and 252,359 involved alcohol with secondary drug usage.6
  6. Fewer than four in ten (42%) of those attempting to end their drug addiction and alcohol reliance successfully finish treatment.6
  7. In 2019, alcohol topped the list of primary substances (31%) mentioned in admissions by addicts aged 12 and over, followed by opiates (30%), stimulants (12%), marijuana/hashish (11%), and cocaine (6%).6
  8. Alcohol still topped the list of primary substances (31.2%) in 2020, followed by opiates (26.9%), stimulants (12.7%), marijuana/hashish (9.8%), and cocaine (5.1%).7
  9. Admissions to alcohol addiction treatment programs decreased from 42% in 2009 to 31% in 2019. 6
  10. On average, people who only drink alcohol are usually 43 years old when they enter rehabilitation. Those who drink alcohol and use drugs are generally 40 years old.6
  11. In 2019, 70% of people admitted to alcohol-only treatment centers aged 12+ were White, while 16% were African American or Black.6
  12. Caucasians (59%) far outnumbered Blacks or African Americans (27%) in admissions due to alcohol combined with drug use in 2019.6
  13. Fourteen percent of those with AUD, as well as 14% of those with drug addiction and alcohol use problems, are Hispanic or Latino.6
  14. In 2019, over 700,000 people (43%) underwent outpatient treatment, and 16% sought more intensive rehabilitation in a detoxification program.6
  15. Almost two-thirds (42%) of those receiving substance use treatment finished the program, and 22% transferred to continuing care.6
  16. Hospital residential treatment (73%) and detoxification services (62%) have the highest success rates.6
  17. AUD admissions dropped dramatically in recent years, falling from 40.3% (1,928,013) in 2010 to 31.2% (1,416,357) by 2020.7
  18. Forty-six percent of people seeking treatment for substance use disorders do so on their initiative, while courts refer 24.5%.7
  19. From 2010 to 2020, between 37.8 and 42.4% of adults who visited hospitals and treatment facilities were unemployed.7
  20. Most hospital discharges belonged to males, accounting for more than half at 64.4%.7
alcohol only treatment centers admission
alcohol rehab highest success rates
alcohol rehab statistics

Alcohol Death Statistics

These figures behind excessive and binge drinking are essential to taking action against alcohol-related deaths:

United States

  1. Over 90,000 Americans lose their lives each year due to alcohol.8
  2. Alcohol-related fatalities soared by 26% from 2019 to 2020.9
  3. 2020 saw a 42% surge in alcohol-related deaths among women aged 35 to 44.9
  4. Thirty-four percent more women aged 25 to 34 died in 2019 (2.9 deaths per 100,000) than in 2020 (3.9 per 100,000).9
  5. There are more than twice as many male deaths (19.2) for every 100,000 people than female fatalities (7.2).9
  6. Alcohol-related deaths were prevalent among middle-aged adults, with the most severe casualties in men and women aged 55 to 64.9
  7. Deaths from alcohol went up by more than 25% in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.10
  8. On average, 32 lives daily, or one life every 45 minutes, get taken in America due to drunk driving.10
  9. There were 2,041 deaths from alcohol-impaired drivers with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels between .01 and .07 g/dL in 2020.11
  10. Drunk drivers with BAC of .08 g/dL and above cause nearly a third (30%) of all fatal crashes in the U.S.11
women died from excessive drinking
Causes of Alcohol Related Deaths 1

Worldwide

  1. Each year, over 3 million fatalities occur due to excessive alcohol consumption.2
  2. Alcohol misuse contributes to 5.1% of total worldwide ailments, underscoring its destructive effect on population health and wellbeing.2
  3. AUD causes 10% of all premature deaths among 15 to 49-year-olds.2
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What Are the Most Successful Alcohol Rehab Programs?

The best alcohol rehab programs help establish a strong foundation for long-term sobriety. These treatments target alcohol abuse and the underlying causes and offer strategies to prevent relapse after alcohol detox and alcohol withdrawal.

The following are the most successful alcohol treatment options:5,7

  • Outpatient treatment: This rehab program offers flexibility and allows people to continue their daily responsibilities while receiving therapy. It involves counseling and group therapy sessions, accounting for 44.4% of total rehabilitation.
  • Intensive outpatient treatment: Accounting for 11.9% of admissions, this treatment provides more intense therapy than an outpatient program but requires fewer hours per week. It also regularly connects people with professionals to help maintain sobriety.
  • Detoxification: It helps alcoholics prepare for an addiction recovery plan by removing alcohol from their bodies and managing withdrawal symptoms. It's responsible for 15.2% of admissions and requires medical supervision, as withdrawal can be potentially dangerous and even fatal.
  • Residential treatment: The most intensive treatment, an alcohol treatment center allows people to live at the facility, eat healthily, and exercise as part of rehabilitation. Short-term residential programs account for 8.6% of admissions, while long-term residential services make up 6.4%.
  • Hospital residential treatment: This program treats alcoholics in a severe alcohol-related crisis, such as alcohol poisoning or alcohol withdrawal. It accounts for 0.2% of admission and provides medical and psychological therapies.
outpatient treatment total rehabilitation

Behavioral therapies, medications, and mutual-support groups are also solutions for those with AUD.10,12

Behavioral therapies

Behavioral therapies help recovering alcoholics understand their cravings, recognize triggers, and develop skills to make better decisions. The most popular are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement therapy, marital and family counseling, and brief interventions.

Medications

These non-addictive drugs target and reverse any imbalances in the brain due to AUD. People can take them alone or as part of an overall treatment plan. Examples include disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate.

Mutual Support Groups

These programs help alcoholics stay accountable, restore relationships, and maintain sobriety. They provide a safe and supportive environment for alcoholics to share their experiences and find strength in one another.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Rational Recovery, and SMART Recovery are today's most famous mutual support groups.

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Other Ways to Improve Your Chances of Recovering from Alcohol Addiction

Consider these tips for maintaining sobriety and preventing alcohol relapses:

  • Monitor alcohol cravings and triggers, such as anxiety, stress, and loneliness
  • Surround yourself with sober friends
  • Stay in touch with your support group or network
  • Practice self-care activities like yoga and meditation
  • Make sure you don’t keep alcohol or other potential triggers in your house
  • Schedule activities like exercising, journaling, or going to art classes
  • Find healthy hobbies to fill the time you used to spend drinking
  • Learn anger management, stress reduction, and coping skills like keeping busy or going on a run
  • Get help from a mental health provider if needed
  • Take any medications as prescribed
  • Attend alcohol rehab and alcohol support meetings 
  • Set realistic goals for long-term recovery
  • Seek professional help if needed
Updated on July 31, 2023
14 sources cited
Updated on July 31, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in the United States: Age Groups and Demographic Characteristics.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2023.
  2. More people drank excessively during the pandemic. the world must tackle its alcohol problem.” World Economic Forum, 2021.
  3. Kinreich, S., et al. “Predicting alcohol use disorder remission: A longitudinal multimodal multi-featured machine learning approach.” Translational Psychiatry, 2021.
  4. Generes, W. M. (Ed.). “Rehab Success Rates and Statistics.” American Addiction Centers, 2022.
  5. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). “Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction.National Institutes of Health, 2020.
  6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. “Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS): 2019. Admissions to and Discharges From Publicly Funded Substance Use Treatment.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2021.
  7. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. “Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS): 2019. Admissions to and Discharges From Publicly Funded Substance Use Treatment.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2022.
  8. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). “Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction.” 2021.
  9. Edwards, E. “Alcohol deaths spiked among middle-aged adults, especially women, during pandemic.” NBCNews, 2022.
  10. Ahmed, T. “Alcohol-related deaths in the US spiked more than 25% in the first year of the pandemic, study shows.” CNN, 2022.
  11. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Drunk Driving.” NHTSA.
  12. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, n.d.
  13. Alcohol Abuse Statistics.” National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 2023.
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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