Alcohol use is common in the United States, with slightly over half of adults indicating they had consumed an alcoholic beverage during the past month as of 2018. What is less common, however, is alcohol addiction and its consequences, as roughly 6 percent of adults in the United States have a diagnosable addiction called an alcohol use disorder, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Ongoing alcohol abuse and addiction can lead to significant consequences, such as health problems, serious injuries, and difficulty functioning in work or family life. Another consequence of alcohol abuse is dependence, meaning that the body does not function well without alcohol. When a person who develops an alcohol dependence stops drinking, he or she will typically experience withdrawal. One serious form of withdrawal, called delirium tremens, can be fatal; however, proper medical care can prevent complications from delirium tremens and allow those living with alcohol addictions to participate in ongoing treatment to achieve lasting sobriety.