Blog | Alcohol Abuse

Top 10 Hardest Drinking States in the Country

Friends toasting beer mugsAmericans drink a lot of alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism[1] found, “Per capita consumption of ethanol from all alcoholic beverages combined in 2013 was 2.34 gallons.”

This doesn’t mean every person drinks the same amount. Some individuals choose not to drink any alcohol. Others struggle with alcohol abuse issues and drink too much or too frequently. Alcohol consumption varies from person to person. It stands to reason that it also varies from state to state. Fox News[2] collected data about alcoholism consumption rates. They determined which states have the highest per capita alcoholism consumption rates.

The ten states with the highest alcohol intake rates were as follows:

  1. New Hampshire at 4.65 gallons
  2. Delaware at 3.59 gallons
  3. North Dakota at 3.42 gallons
  4. Nevada at 3.27 gallons
  5. Wisconsin at 3 gallons
  6. Montana at 2.96 gallons
  7. Vermont at 2.92 gallons
  8. Alaska at 2.82 gallons
  9. Colorado at 2.76 gallons
  10. Idaho at 2.76 gallons

Addiction is an individual disease and can affect anyone living anywhere. General statistics like those above are still important tools. They help professionals and advocates create targeted campaigns encouraging addiction treatment and prevention. They help you better understand your or a loved one’s personal and environmental addiction risk factors.

When a family or community views excessive drinking as normal, it influences alcohol use. If the people around you drink too often, drink in response to stress or emotions, or drink in excess, you are more likely to do the same.

The American Psychological Association[3] explains how this plays out in close social settings:

“Engaging in health (or risk) behaviors mirrors the behavior choices of close social partners…Married partners often demonstrate correspondence in their health behaviors, such as diet, exercise, weight management, smoking (and smoking cessation), and consumption of alcohol.”

The people around you have both positive and negative effects on your health and habits. If a lot of people in your area, particularly close friends, peers, and family members, drink, you may also. This puts you at risk for addiction. It can challenge recovery efforts.

When over-drinking is normalized in your state or community, you may deny the negative role alcohol plays in your life. Others may drink as much as or more than you and not seem to have a problem. However, alcohol abuse and addiction is about more than the amount consumed.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine[4] explains, “Although some believe that the difference between those who have addiction, and those who do not, is the quantity or frequency of alcohol/drug use…a characteristic aspect of addiction is the qualitative way in which the individual responds to such exposures, stressors and environmental cues. A particularly pathological aspect of the way that persons with addiction pursue substance use or external rewards is that preoccupation with, obsession with and/or pursuit of rewards (e.g., alcohol and other drug use) persist despite the accumulation of adverse consequences.”

If alcohol affects your life negatively in any way yet you continue to drink, consider substance abuse treatment. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you think you consume. An alcohol abuse or addiction problems is rooted in the reasons behind your drinking. Addressing these reasons leads to an all-around healthier and more satisfying life.

Early treatment can be as simple as a few meetings with your primary care physician, talks with a therapist, and finding support from peers with similar life goals and values. It can be as comprehensive as an inpatient program at Michael’s House. Your needs will depend on where you are in life and addiction. It will depend on your environment, your mental and physical health, and your individual recovery needs. Call us at 760-548-4032 and talk with us to determine what those needs may be. We provide initial assessments and help you create the most appropriate, personalized plan for long-term health. Find personal and social support for recovery. No matter where you live, reach out today.


[1] https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/surveillance102/cons13.htm. “Apparent per Capita Alcohol Consumption.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Apr 2015. Web. 31 Mar 2017.

[2] “What State in America Drinks the Most in a Given Year?” Fox News. 11 Jun 2014. Web. 31 Mar 2017.

[3] http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/hea-0000103.pdf. “The Role of Social Networks in Adult Health.” American Psychological Association. 2014. Web. 31 Mar 2017.

[4] https://www.asam.org/. “Definition of Addiction.” American Society of Addiction Medicine. 19 Apr 2011. Web. 1 Apr 2017.