Over 1 in 10 Americans admit they have had a drinking problem at one stage of their life

Based on a survey of 2,560 Americans (aged 21+; Google surveys August 2020).

State                              %
Alabama          4
Alaska  29
Arizona            17
Arkansas         12
California        19
Colorado         23
Connecticut    10
Delaware         15
Florida 18
Georgia           10
Hawaii             14
Idaho   25
Illinois  14
Indiana            11
Iowa    8
Kansas 23
Kentucky         15
Louisiana         5
Maine  14
Maryland        11
Massachusetts            17
Michigan         14
Minnesota       9
Mississippi      19
Missouri          12
Montana         8
Nebraska         10
Nevada            12
New Hampshire          50
New Jersey      12
New Mexico    25
New York        10
North Carolina 4
North Dakota  13
Ohio    11
Oklahoma       18
Oregon            21
Pennsylvania   10
Rhode Island   17
South Carolina 15
South Dakota  14
Tennessee       19
Texas   17
Utah    5
Vermont          4
Virginia            42
Washington    16
West Virginia  15
Wisconsin       22
Wyoming        8

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, millions of people in the US are now facing challenging life circumstances, with a current total of 3.7 million* unemployed citizens across the country. With economic tensions high, many Americans may be vulnerable to increased feelings of anxiety, stress and loneliness due to social distancing regulations. The emotional strain of the pandemic could result in many resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as alcohol or illicit drug use, in an attempt to numb these feelings. For this reason, people with a history of problematic drinking habits are more at risk of relapse** during this time as their daily routines and coping methods may be disrupted due to pandemic protocols, such as working from home.

DrugAbuse.com, a provider of drug and alcohol treatment resources and programs, conducted a survey of 2,560 Americans (aged 21+) which revealed that over 1 in 10 Americans (15%) admit they have had a problem with alcohol in at least one stage of their lives. This figure suggests that these people could be at an increased risk of re-developing their negative drinking habits due to the stressful circumstances brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.

For those with a drinking problem, maintaining sobriety can often be a daily struggle for both the individual, as well as the people around them. Therefore, during the pandemic, staying sober can be an even greater struggle than usual, as they may have had to adjust their everyday routines and possibly, their coping methods. Nearly half (45%) of respondents say they are worried about their loved one’s drinking problem recurring due to the stress of the pandemic.

Additionally, 1 in 10 (10%) respondents say they know of someone who they suspect has developed an alcohol related problem as a result of the circumstances brought on by the pandemic. Considering it is the first of its scale to affect the nation since the severe H1N1 influenza pandemic in 1918***, the Coronavirus has naturally caused a significant amount of panic, stress and anxiety for American citizens – all of which may be triggers for drinking problems.

If you are in recovery or know of someone who is, be mindful that a past alcohol abuse problem may be even more difficult to deal with during these unprecedented times,’ says a spokesperson for DrugAbuse.com “Now more than ever, it is important to establish a strong self-care routine and get into the habit of scheduling regular catch ups with friends or family members via video call, if you are unable to see them in person. Sometimes the best way to overcome emotional stress is to talk about it with another person you can trust.”

*https://edition.cnn.com/2020/07/07/economy/job-losses-coronavirus/index.html
**https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/28/americans-addiction-rrelapse-coronavirus
***https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html