Over half of the alcohol consumed in the U.S. is done so as part of a binge drinking session, and about one in six adults binge drinks regularly. Regular binge drinking could be a sign of a problem, so finding binge drinking treatment to help you regain control is crucial. However, you may not realize how much binge drinking costs society each year, from healthcare expenses to lost productivity in the workplace.
How Much Does Binge Drinking Cost the U.S.?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive drinking cost the U.S. $249 billion in 2010, equating to $2.05 for every drink consumed. Binge drinking accounts for 77% of this cost, or just over $191.7 billion each year. The costs vary by state, from $488 million in North Dakota to a huge $35 billion in California. The government–and, by extension, the taxpayer–pays for $2 out of every $5 that binge drinking costs the country.
How the Cost Breaks Down
The vast majority of the costs from binge drinking (72% of the total) come from lost productivity in the workplace. This is easy to understand, from the costs stemming from days of work missed because of hangovers through to the more direct reduction in productivity from people trying to work after having a drink or during a hangover. The other costs pale in comparison to lost productivity, but still account for large amounts of money. Healthcare expenses account for 11% of the total cost, or around $27.4 billion. Costs from law enforcement account for 10%, or $24.9 billion, and motor vehicle crashes caused by drunk driving account for 5%, or over $12.4 billion.
Reducing the Cost of Binge Drinking
If you binge drink, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a problem with alcoholism. But around 9 out of every 10 adults who drink excessively say that they’ve engaged in binge drinking over the past month. For a drinking session to classify as binge drinking, you have to consume four or five drinks over the course of two hours, for women and men, respectively. Even if you aren’t addicted, drinking at this rate–especially if you do so regularly–means that you should seriously ask yourself why you drink so much. Binge drinking counseling is all about finding the answer to this question, and if you’re drinking in an attempt to cope with unpleasant emotions, counselors can help you find healthier ways to accomplish the same thing. Getting binge drinking counseling is the best way to get to the bottom of what’s driving your drinking, as well as the psychological insights it offers. Your counselor will also offer you useful tips to help you cut down on your drinking. If more people in the U.S. seek help through binge drinking counseling, there will be less excessive alcohol use in the country. Sources: “Fact Sheets – Binge Drinking” – CDC https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm “2010 National and State Costs of Excessive Alcohol Consumption” – American Journal of Preventative Medicine http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797%2815%2900354-2/abstract “Excessive Drinking is Draining the U.S. Economy” – CDC https://www.cdc.gov/features/costsofdrinking/