New Studies Show an Increase in the Percentage of Americans Affected by Someone Else’s Drinking

Share Article

One reason for an increase in reports of alcohol-related family troubles, with reports of alcohol consumption remaining steady, may be greater understanding and awareness about alcoholism as a disease. Al-Anon provides strength and support for anyone who is affected by a loved one’s drinking.

Strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers

Al-Anon Family Groups

Although more people now say they experience alcohol-related family trouble, it may be, simply, because more people feel comfortable talking about it, even if it’s just in a survey

A Gallup poll* conducted in July 2014 revealed that alcohol has been a cause of family trouble for 36% of Americans. This is among the highest percentages, which have steadily been increasing in Gallup’s Consumption Habits poll, since the 1940s when only 15% said alcohol had been a cause of family problems, according to Jeffrey Jones in “Gallup Well-Being.”

In a study conducted of the American public by Al-Anon Family Groups, a support program for people who have been affected by someone else’s alcoholism, a similar trend was uncovered. In 2013, 31% of respondents identified themselves as a person who has been affected by another’s excessive drinking, more than double the 15% indicating the same in 2004.

While both of these studies show an increase in those who are affected by a loved one’s drinking, neither shows a significant increase in those who actually drink. Gallup’s poll, since the 1980s, reveals a steady percentage of Americans reporting they drink alcohol - even a declining percentage in the frequency with which Americans drink. Al-Anon’s study shows a negligible 1% increase in the percentage of Americans reporting they drink, from 9% in 2004 to 10% in 2013.

One might ask, “What could be the cause for increased reports of alcohol-related family trouble, with steady, even decreasing, reports of drinking?” While on the surface it seems unsettling that more people are affected by someone else’s alcoholism, there may be a silver lining.

Greater awareness about alcoholism, medically diagnosed as “alcohol use disorder” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is likely succeeding in bringing about elimination of the social stigma, and associated denial, attached to it. Al-Anon Family Groups Information Analyst Pamela Walters said, “Although more people now say they experience alcohol-related family trouble, it may be, simply, because more people feel comfortable talking about it, even if it’s just in a survey. We see this as a really good thing, as, when people are more open to talk about a problem of alcoholism in the family, they are more open to getting the help they need.”

Al-Anon Family Groups are for families and friends who have been affected by a loved one’s drinking. Nearly 16,000 local groups meet throughout the U.S., Canada, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico every week. Al-Anon Family Groups meet in more than 130 countries, and Al-Anon literature is available in more than 40 languages. Al-Anon Family Groups have been offering strength and support to families and friends of problem drinkers since 1951. Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. acts as the clearinghouse worldwide for inquiries from those who need help or want information about Al-Anon Family Groups and Alateen, its program for teenage members.

For more information about Al-Anon Family Groups, go to al-anon.org and read a copy of Al-Anon’s annual public outreach magazine “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2015.” Find a local meeting by calling toll-free: 1-888-4AL-ANON.

*http://www.gallup.com/poll/174200/reports-alcohol-related-family-trouble-remain.aspx

Share article on socal media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Pamela Walters
Visit website