Alcoholism by Country Statistics

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Alcohol use disorders or alcoholism (1) refers to a serious disease or disorder distinguished by uncontrolled drinking. This could be due to emotional and physical dependence as well as a preoccupation with alcohol consumption.

People suffering from alcohol use disorders may have issues controlling their drinking.

Treatment for alcoholism includes medications and counselling, and sometimes detoxification to assist the person stop drinking safely.

According to the WHO - World Health Organization, (2) the statistics on alcohol addiction are a real concern globally, with over three million deaths each year. It was the seventh leading risk factor of death and had become a global burden.

Americans use an average of 8.7 liters of pure alcohol for every capita yearly; this is equivalent to 29.0 handles of vodka for every individual a year.

The amount of pure alcohol consumed also differs considerably between countries.

The recent statistics are from the global status report on alcohol consumption patterns and rates in every country from 2004, which recorded the proportion of females and males, fifteen years old and above, with alcoholism is quite worrying.

This is one of the most comprehensive reports on liters of pure alcohol that is consumed by individuals years. The world health organization is already concerned about the increase in alcohol consumption, especially during the lockdown season.

Recent stats;

According to the UK government, (3) there was an increase in alcohol consumption during the pandemic and this caused an increase in deaths. Most people reported drinking alcohol in order to deal with mental and behavioural disorders, the pandemic,

In 2020, alcohol attributable deaths increased by 20%. This was an increase from 5,819 to6,983. The world health organization had already raised the alarm on this, and cautioned most countries to be vigilant when it came to alcohol consumption.

Alcoholism by country percentage 

The yearly average alcohol use worldwide is 6.4 litres (3) for every individual older than fifteen years old.

To report for the disparities in the content of alcohol in different alcoholic drinks such as; beer, wine, and spirits, this is documented in litres of 100 per cent pure alcohol a year.

To make this 6.4-liters average understandable, let us show it in a bottle of wine.

A wine has approximately 12 per cent pure alcohol for every volume which means that; one liter of wine has 0.12 litres of pure alcohol. 

Therefore, the 6.4 litres of alcohol per capita consumption annually is equivalent to 53 bottles of wine for every individual older than 15 or about 1 liter of wine a week.

According to the research, the average for every capita alcohol use differs widely in the world.

There is a massive geographical disparity: Alcohol consumption across the Middle East and North Africa is relatively low; it is almost zero in various countries.

On the other hand, alcohol consumption in Europe is higher at roughly 15 litres for every person annually in Lithuania, Czechia, and Moldova.

This is equivalent to roughly two bottles of wine for every individual weekly. Which is usually considered over moderate alcohol consumption, and could put the individual at risk of alcohol related harm.

Just behind the countries in Eastern Europe are countries in Western Europe, which include Belgium, Ireland, Portugal, France as well as Germany at approximately 12 to 14 litres.

Nigeria is the only country outside Europe with a high rate of alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorder.

Share of adults drinking alcohol 

The share of grown-up individuals who consume alcoholic drinks is highest in Australia and Western Europe.

It’s highest in France; and the recorded alcohol consumption in 2010, was close to 95% of grown-up individuals in France.

Once more, the occurrence of consuming alcohol in the Middle East and North Africa is notably lower compared to other regions.

Usually, five to ten per cent of grown-up individuals in these regions drunk in the previous year, and in many countries, this was five per cent.

Alcohol use by sex 

If you take a look at the gender differences, you will see that in all regions, men were reported to drink alcohol more than women.

The gender difference appears to be lowest in regions where the entire prevalence of consuming alcohol is high.

While the consumed alcohol was mid-range, the occurrence of consuming alcohol in women is likely to considerably lower most, or often it is less than half the percentage of men.

The world health organization statistic regarding alcohol consumption by age group and gender in the United Kingdom is available by clicking here.


The top ten countries with high rates of alcoholism in females

Leading countries with the highest rates of alcoholism in females take account of the following:

  • Australia   2.61%
  • Russia 2.58%
  • Norway 2.55%
  • Colombia 2.55%
  • Hungary 2.27%
  • Sweden 2.27%
  • New Zealand 2.20%
  • Republic of Moldova 2.15%
  • Lithuania 1.98%
  • The United States 1.92%

Russia and Australia have the highest prevalence of alcoholism dependence  overall, with 2.61 per cent and 2.58 per cent, respectively.

According to the World Health Organization, US has the lowest rate of alcohol dependence with only 1.93 per cent.

Below are the top countries in the world with the high rate of alcohol use disorder in males:

  • Russia (16.29%)
  • Hungary (15.29%)
  • Lithuania (13.35%)
  • South Korea (13.10%)
  • Latvia (11.54%)
  • Belarus (11.43%)
  • Estonia (11.09%)
  • Niue (10.58%)
  • Colombia (10.33%)
  • Thailand (10.18%)

Russia and Hungary have the highest rate of alcohol consumption in the male category, and Thailand has the lowest rating with only 10.18 per cent.

These countries also reported the highest levels of alcohol use disorders. The global status also included the leading alcohol-related conditions such as mental health disorders, fetal alcohol syndrome, liver cirrhosis, premature death, and transmission of infectious diseases.

The United States is not included in this category.

What constitutes a heavy drinking session?

A heavy drinking session constitutes binge drinking to the level where your blood alcohol concentration or BAC goes up to 0.08 g/dl and above. This is typically consuming more than 5 drinks for men and 4 drinks or more for women in a period of 2 hours.

Alcohol consumption is a health burden for anyone who is addicted, and can lead to premature death, which is part of alcohol related mortality, liver diseases, and the transmission of infectious diseases.

You may think that going out for a binge drinking session with your friends to drink alcohol constitutes alcohol use disorder, but it may not, although this could be the starting point for you addiction.

The amount of alcohol consumed, in a day, has got to be higher than the accepted average for it to be considered heavy drinking.

But basically, if your alcohol intake is on a daily basis, then you are probably addicted to alcohol.

Heavy drinker or heavy episodic drinking refers to the percentage of adult drinkers that have had 60 grams or more than 100% pure alcohol per capita consumption on one occasion in the preceding thirty days.

A consumption of sixty grams of pure alcohol is equivalent to six standard alcoholic beverages.

The global status report

The global status report on alcohol consumption per capita consumption showed that heavy alcohol drinkers - people who have an incident of heavy drinking within a period of thirty days, and have probably caused alcohol related harm, can be considered part of the global burden of disease.

The evaluation of this global status report makes it clear that alcohol related harm is the leading cause of global deaths as a result of abuse.

There is also the issue of underage drinking, where the age group of the population drinking is less than the agreed age. This is what contributes to a high adult drinking as they started young.

For example, in Madagascar, 65% of adult drinkers have had a heavy session of consuming alcohol for most of their lives.

The status report on alcohol consumption showed that Paraguay, Lithuania, Mongolia, Austria, Finland as well as Benin all had a pure alcohol per capita alcohol consumption of over 50% of drinkers having a heavy sessions when they were in a lower age group.

On the contrary, in many countries in South Asia and Africa, this was the case for not more than five per cent of drinkers. Even in European countries, there are big disparities between regions.

For instance, in Italy, just six per cent of adult drinkers had a heavy session of consuming alcohol in contrast to almost half in Ireland.

Spain has 20 per cent, 42 per cent in Belgium and one third in France and UK.

Top countries with highest alcohol use

As far as the use of alcohol is a concern, the top countries in the world with the heaviest adult drinkers are as follows:

  • Belarus
  • Lithuania
  • Grenada
  • Czech Republic
  • France
  • Russia
  • Ireland
  • Luxembourg
  • Slovakia
  • Germany

How much alcohol is consumed globally?

The amount of alcohol consumption in the world today is about 6.4 liters per person (4) older than 15 years. This is an annual trend that is anticipated to keep on through the year 2031 when Europe no longer has the maximum rates in alcohol consumption.

Alcohol consumption continues to hold a vital role in social bonding and engagement for many. Moderate alcohol drink or social drinking for a lot is pleasurable, although this mild drinking has a disease burden as well.

People who have drunk alcohol expose themselves to alcohol related conditions such as  liver disease, mental and behavioural disorders, alcohol related life lost, fetal alcohol syndrome and other disease burden issues that are brought by alcoholism.

Alcohol consumption worldwide causes almost 2.8 million early deaths a year. This statistic is specifically for adult age group, and the risk factor of people who drunk alcohol while underage is still high.

In general, Belarus residents used 14.6 litres of alcohol a year. This is equivalent to forty-nine handles of vodka for every individual. Clearly this systematic analysis is just too much. This is a country whose gross domestic product is way to high on alcohol.

Probably one of the problems with Belarus and other countries is the physical availability of alcohol, and the drinking patterns of pure alcohol per person including underage drinking for people in an age group below 18 years.

The status report on alcohol showed that the US in comparison reported 8.7 litres of alcohol used a year, with an equivalent of twenty-nine handles of vodka for every person.

Belarus is a small landlocked region located in Europe, used the highest percentage of litres of alcohol a year. Alcohol attributable deaths were also high in this country according to the disease study conducted.

Its populace, in general, used 14.4 litres a year, more than 1.5 times higher than people in the US.

While the government of Belarus was quick to refute and contradict the reports published by the World Health Organization (WHO), national anti-alcohol moves were implemented with anticipation of reducing the level of use of pure alcohol per person in this country.

Russia, on the other hand, is renowned for its heavy use of vodka. It consumed an average of almost 11.5 litres of alcohol a year, not more than the average of 5 other regions. The drinking patterns of Russians are well known and you would think that they would be number one.

Even if it still makes the top ten, the typecast of Russians as well as vodka might be decreasing and declining as the Prime Minister of the country has been attacking illegal use of alcohol in light of many Alcohol attributable deaths, or life lost.

Other countries that consumed less are Slovakia, Luxembourg as well as Ireland, all consume an average of 11.4 litres a year.

The United States of America claimed the twenty-fifth rank, drinking 8.7 litres of alcohol per capita yearly.

Alcohol consumption increased a lot in middle-income as well as income countries like India, Vietnam as well as China.

On the other hand, it was reduced in countries in Europe that once had the highest levels of alcohol consumption.


Highest alcoholism consumption rate by country 

Below is the list of countries with the highest alcoholism rate, starting from the highest to the lowest.

Country

Male

Female

1. Russia

16.29%

2.58%

2. Hungary

15.29%

2.27%

3. Lithuania

13.35%

1.98%

4. South Korea

13.10%

0.41%

5. Latvia

11.54%

1.67%

6. Belarus

11.43%

1.69%

7. Estonia

11.09%

1.62%

8. Niue

10.58%

0.34%

9. Colombia

10.33%

2.55%

10. Thailand

10.18%

0.99%

11. Kazakhstan

9.52%

1.48%

12. Slovakia

9.47%

0.93%

13. Norway

9.05%

2.55%

14. Bahamas

8.72%

1.68%

15. Ukraine

8.63%

0.79%

16. Laos

8.38%

0.28%

17. Uruguay

7.97%

1.50%

18. Philippines

7.95%

0.95%

19. Saint Lucia

7.71%

1.49%

20. Peru

7.65%

1.33%

21. Dominica

7.55%

1.46%

22. Georgia

7.44%

0.25%

23. Venezuela

7.43%

1.44%

24. Brazil

7.29%

1.41%

25. Belize

6.91%

1.34%

26. China

6.90%

0.22%

27. Chile

6.67%

1.39%

28. Argentina

6.64%

1.78%

29. Costa Rica

6.62%

1.28%

30. Barbados

6.57%

1.24%

31. Saint Vincent And The Grenadines

6.48%

1.24%

32. Dominican Republic

6.43%

1.24%

33. United Kingdom

6.42%

1.52%

34. Finland

6.39%

1.17%

35. Sweden

6.32%

2.27%

36. Haiti

6.28%

1.11%

37. Australia

6.17%

2.61%

38. Ecuador

6.10%

1.07%

39. Grenada

6.03%

1.18%

40. Mongolia

5.95%

0.20%

41. Panama

5.95%

1.15%

42. Antigua And Barbuda

5.81%

1.12%

43. Suriname

5.64%

1.09%

44. Bolivia

5.62%

0.98%

45. Guyana

5.60%

1.06%

46. United States

5.48%

1.92%

47. Romania

5.45%

1.29%

48. Canada

5.43%

1.92%

49. Netherlands

5.29%

0.81%

50. Bosnia And Herzegovina

5.19%

1.23%

51. El Salvador

5.16%

1.01%

52. Paraguay

5.01%

0.97%

53. Croatia

4.88%

1.11%

54. Ireland

4.84%

1.19%

55. North Korea

4.78%

0.15%

56. Cuba

4.71%

0.90%

57. France

4.54%

1.07%

58. Honduras

4.51%

0.88%

59. Germany

4.51%

0.88%

60. Poland

4.50%

1.05%

61. Trinidad And Tobago

4.46%

0.87%6

62. Luxembourg

4.45%

1.06%

63. Czech Republic

4.44%

0.58%

64. Sri Lanka

4.34%

0.44%

65. Fiji

4.26%

0.14%56

66. Andorra

4.25%

1.00%

67. Kiribati

4.14%

0.14%

68. Vietnam

4.13%

0.14%

69. Mexico

4.13%

0.21%

70. Denmark

4.12%

0.98%

71. Monaco

4.11%

0.96%

72. Portugal

4.07%

0.95%

73. Austria

3.88%

0.90%

74. Bulgaria

3.87%

0.91%

75. Guatemala

3.82%

0.68%

76. Nepal

3.80%

0.48%

77. Papua New Guinea

3.76%

0.13%

78. Nicaragua

3.75%

0.66%

79. Maldives

3.74%

0.47%

80. Malaysia

3.74%

0.42%

81. Switzerland

3.71%

0.87%

82. Nauru

3.65%

0.12%

83. South Africa

3.64%

0.88%

84. Greece

3.56%

0.84%

85. New Zealand

3.50%

2.20%

86. India

3.47%

0.42%

87. Slovenia

3.45%

0.79%

88. Azerbaijan

3.45%

0.38%

89. Cambodia

3.35%

0.11%

90. Uganda

3.35%

0.36%

91. Cook Islands

3.23%

0.11%

92. San Marino

3.22%

0.74%

93. Iceland

2.97%

0.73%

94. Cyprus

2.90%

0.00%

95. Jamaica

2.90%

0.41%

96. Burundi

2.76%

0.29%

97. Albania

2.72%

0.67%

98. Kyrgyzstan

2.71%

0.30%

99. Tuvalu

2.69%

0.09%

100. Zimbabwe

2.62%

0.28%

101. Gabon

2.57%

0.29%

102. Tajikistan

2.57%

0.29%

103. Malta

2.55%

0.60%

104. Rwanda

2.36%

0.25%

105. Swaziland

2.27%

0.25%

106. Japan

2.25%

0.13%

107. Bahrain

2.18%

0.00%

108. Sao Tome And Principe

2.13%

0.24%

109. Sierra Leone

2.10%

0.24%

110. Uzbekistan

2.10%

0.23%

111. Seychelles

2.03%

0.22%

112. Belgium

2.03%

0.84%

113. Nigeria

1.95%

0.03%

114. Indonesia

1.95%

0.34%

115. Timor Leste

1.94%

0.25%

116. Armenia

1.94%

0.22%

117. Vanuatu

1.93%

0.06%

118. Burkina Faso

1.90%

0.21%

119. Tonga

1.89%

0.06%

120. Botswana

1.87%

0.19%

121. Solomon Islands

1.82%

0.06%

122. Namibia

1.80%

0.19%

123. Tanzania

1.79%

0.19%

124. Turkey

1.77%

0.65%

125. Chad

1.68%

0.19%

126. Qatar

1.64%

0.00%

127. Cameroon

1.64%

0.18%

128. Myanmar

1.62%

0.05%

129. Bhutan

1.53%

0.20%

130. Turkmenistan

1.51%

0.17%

131. Zambia

1.47%

0.16%

132. Kenya

1.47%

0.16%

133. Liberia

1.43%

0.16%

134. Ghana

1.43%

0.16%

135. Angola

1.42%

0.16%

136. Singapore

1.40%

0.19%

137. Lesotho

1.35%

0.15%

138. Israel

1.35%

0.33%

139. Republic Of The Congo

1.29%

0.14%

140. Mauritius

1.17%

0.13%

141. Guinea Bissau

1.10%

0.12%

142. Spain

1.07%

0.17%

143. Gambia

1.03%

0.12%

144. Central African Republic

0.99%

0.10%

145. Dr Congo

0.99%

0.10%

146. Pakistan

0.91%

0.12%

147. Equatorial Guinea

0.85%

0.10%

148. Morocco

0.79%

0.00%

149. Djibouti

0.75%

0.08%

150. Tunisia

0.73%

0.00%

151. Madagascar

0.73%

0.08%

152. Mozambique

0.72%

0.08%

153. Lebanon

0.69%

0.00%

154. Benin

0.66%

0.07%

155. Malawi

0.66%

0.07%

156. Bangladesh

0.61%

0.08%

157. Togo

0.60%

0.07%

158. United Arab Emirates

0.59%

0.00%

159. Syria

0.59%

0.00%

160. Eritrea

0.56%

0.06%

161. Sudan

0.54%

0.06%

162. Senegal

0.52%

0.06%

163. Italy

0.50%

0.41%

164. Iran

0.50%

0.00%

165. Egypt

0.44%

0.00%

166. Saudi Arabia

0.38%

0.00%

167. Oman

0.37%

0.00%

168. Somalia

0.28%

0.03%

169. Mali

0.28%

0.03%

170. Algeria

0.26%

0.03%

171. Yemen

0.24%

0.00%

172. Iraq

0.19%

0.00%

173. Afghanistan

0.18%

0.12%

174. Guinea

0.16%

0.02%

175. Comoros

0.13%

0.01%

176. Niger

0.09%

0.01%

177. Kuwait

0.07%

0.00%

178. Libya

0.05%

0.00%

179. Mauritania

0.02%

0.00%

180. Palau

0.00%

0.00%

181. Marshall Islands

0.00%

0.00%

182. Samoa

0.00%

0.00%

As you see, Russia, Hungary, and Lithuania are the three countries in Europe with the highest alcohol dependence rate both for men and women category.

There are however some countries at the bottom that reported zero consumption of alcohol consumption.

Many decades ago, some regions have a higher percentage of alcohol use. For example, in France, in the year 1920, the average percentage was 22.1 litres of alcohol for every individual a year.

This is equivalent to 184 one liter wine bottles for every individual a year. It certainly has some adverse health outcomes for the individuals.

Keep in mind that in contrast to today’s data which are shown in alcohol use for every individual older than fifteen years, this takes account of kids as well. The normal consumption for every adult was even higher.

Why is alcoholism such a major problem?

Alcoholism is a major problem globally because it has many negative effects on one's body such as addiction, liver disease, heart problems, inability to function, and alcohol related deaths. It is a serious global pandemic that needs to be addressed.

Whether it's hard alcohol, beer consumption, or wine consumption, when things get serious enough for the alcohol consumption to be considered a substance abuse disorder, it's not the enjoyment of it, where's something else going on.

For most people, the reason for binge drinking is mental health disorders. Dealing with mental health problems isn't easy, which also explains why underage binge drinking is a problem too. Teens dealing with major mental health burden tend to drink alcoholic beverages without thinking about the risk factor.

Even "average alcohol consumption" can put underage people, and people in general at risk factor of developing a substance use disorder, negative health outcomes, cardiovascular diseases, alcohol related liver disease, behavioural disorders, and can be a threat to their overall well being including fatal alcohol syndrome.

People struggling with alcohol dependence may be so preoccupied with alcohol consumption that they end up with poor diet, mental disorders and according to disease study report, they may even develop liver disease at a young age group such as liver cirrhosis.

It doesn't matter if they've been binge drinking all of their lives. Alcohol is a psychoactive substance that's also a central nervous system depressant, they end up putting themselves at risk of alcohol attributed global deaths, or disease. Once someone gets used to a certain amount of total alcohol consumption, it's very difficult to stop.

What is the disability adjusted life years?

The disability adjusted life years (DALY) is a measure of the global burden of disease, especially infectious diseases, expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability, physical inactivity, or early death. It was developed in the 1990s as a way of comparing the overall health and life expectancy of different countries.

Excessive alcohol consumption leads to high rates of DALY in most countries, which also means that alcohol related deaths are high as well.

What are the warning signs of alcoholism?

There are numerous warning signs when it comes to alcoholism, one of which is consuming more than the  daily recommended alcohol intake which is a maximum of  two drinks a day for men and one drink per day for women. 

You may think that your usually casual drinking is okay, but sooner or later, you may find yourself in a point of desperation when you notice the following signs;

  • That you are drinking more alcohol and longer than you normally do.
  • When you have tried to cut back more than once in vain.
  • When you spend most of your time thinking about alcohol.
  • When you are constantly hungover or sick from too much alcohol.
  • When you need alcohol to function.
  • When you keep drinking, even though it has already caused plenty of problems for you in the past.

How to treat alcoholism

In most cases the first step towards treating alcoholism is accepting that you have a problem. Once you have accepted, then you should seek help from a health care professional or a rehab clinic.

A doctor will diagnose alcoholism when three or more of the following have been present together in the past year:

Main diagnosis symptoms

  • An overwhelming desire to drink
  • An inability to stop or to control harmful drinking
  • Withdrawal symptoms when stopping drinking
  • Evidence of alcohol tolerance
  • Pursuing the consumption of alcohol to the exclusion of alternative pleasures
  • Continuing to drink despite clear evidence of harmful consequences

What to do when I think someone is alcoholic

Well, when you suspect that one of your family members may be alcoholic, then you need to approach the situation with a lot of care.

The signs of alcoholism listed above should be clearly evidenced, and they will also appear frustrated and in need of help. Sometimes, no matter how much you would wish to help someone, unless they wish to receive help, it may be an effort in futility.

Speak to them honestly and let them know how their drinking is affecting the whole family. If possible, you could do a little intervention. It really works.

Go to rehab

Persuade them to go see a doctor in order to start their healing process. This could be difficult for most of them, as admitting they have a problem can be very hard. Remain positive and supportive without any judgement, regardless of what they may have done in the past.

There are many rehab clinics all over the UK that offer treatment for alcohol use disorders, and these clinics are always willing and ready to help you and your loved one through the process.

Alcohol treatment is a long process that will need you to hold your loved one's hand as they go through it until they achieve sobriety and remain sober.

Don't forget that anyone can suffer from addiction, and helping without being judgmental is key to ensuring that your loved one receives the care they need.

Conclusion

The connection between the consumption of alcohol and life expectancy does not seem to be a good one. Taking wine in moderation might be advantageous for your heart health.

On the other hand, stopping at only one glass is not always as easy as it seems. Staying sober is indeed a hard feat, and living in a place where alcohol plays a vital part of civilization can make sobriety even more challenging.

Figuring out the issue is indeed the first and most essential step. However, finding the best cure or treatment facility as well as a treatment method to fit needs is very challenging.

We're here to help

Abbeycare is your go-to treatment facility for alcoholism. We offer comprehensive services to help overcome alcohol use disorder tailored to your needs. 

You may also call our local number 01603 513 091.

Last Updated: December 9, 2021

About the author

Peter Szczepanski

Peter has been on the GPhC register for 29 years. He holds a Clinical Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice and he is a Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Misuse for Abbeycare Gloucester and works as the Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Use in Worcestershire. Peter also co-authored the new 6th edition of Drugs In Use by Linda Dodds, writing Chapter 15 on Alcohol Related Liver Disease. Find Peter on Respiratory Academy, Aston University graduates, University of Birmingham, Q, Pharmaceutical Journal, the Dudley Pharmaceutical Committee, Dudley Council, Twitter, and LinkedIn.