Fact Sheets - Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Men's Health
Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Men's Health
Men are more likely than women to drink excessively. Excessive drinking is associated with significant increases in short-term risks to health and safety, and the risk increases as the amount of drinking increases. Men are also more likely than women to take other risks (e.g., drive fast or without a safety belt), when combined with excessive drinking, further increasing their risk of injury or death.1-4
Drinking levels for men
- Approximately 63% of adult men reported drinking alcohol in the last 30 days. Men (24%) were two times more likely to binge drink than women during the same time period.5
- Men average about 12.5 binge drinking episodes per person per year, while women average about 2.7 binge drinking episodes per year.3
- Most people who binge drink are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent.6, 7
- It is estimated that about 17% of men and about 8% of women will meet criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.8
Injuries and deaths as a result of excessive alcohol use
- Men consistently have higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women.1, 9, 10
- Among drivers in fatal motor-vehicle traffic crashes, men are almost twice as likely as women to have been intoxicated (i.e., a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater).11
- Excessive alcohol consumption increases aggression and, as a result, can increase the risk of physically assaulting another person.12
- Men are more likely than women to commit suicide, and more likely to have been drinking prior to committing suicide.13-15
Reproductive Health and Sexual Function
Excessive alcohol use can interfere with testicular function and male hormone production resulting in impotence, infertility, and reduction of male secondary sex characteristics such as facial and chest hair.16, 17
Excessive alcohol use is commonly involved in sexual assault. Impaired judgment caused by alcohol may worsen the tendency of some men to mistake a women’s friendly behavior for sexual interest and misjudge their use of force. Also, alcohol use by men increases the chances of engaging in risky sexual activity including unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, or sex with a partner at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.4
Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon in men.18-20
There are a number of health conditions affected by excessive alcohol use that affect both men and women. Some additional conditions are covered in the Alcohol Use and Health Fact Sheet.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI). Atlanta, GA: CDC.
- Levy DT, Mallonee S, Miller TR, Smith GS, Spicer RS, Romano EO, Fisher DA. Alcohol involvement in burn, submersion, spinal cord, and brain injuries. Med Sci Monit 2004; 10(1):CR17–24.
- Naimi TS, Brewer RD, Mokdad A, Clark D, Serdula MK, Marks JS. Binge Drinking Among US Adults. JAMA 2003; 289(1):70–75.
- Nolen-Hoeksema S. Gender differences in risk factors and consequences for alcohol use and problems. Clinical Psychology Review 2004;24:981.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System prevalence data. Atlanta, GA: CDC.
- Dawson DA, Grant BF, LI T-K. Quantifying the risks associated with exceeding recommended drinking limits. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2005;29:902–908.
- Woerle S, Roeber J, Landen MG. Prevalence of alcohol dependence among excessive drinkers in New Mexico. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2007;31:293–298.
- Hasin DS, Stinson FS, Ogburn E, Grant BF. Prevalence, correlates, disability, and comorbidity of DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence in the United States. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007;64:830-842.
- Minino AM, Heron MP, Murphy SL, Kochanek KD. Deaths: final data for 2004 [PDF 3.37MB]. National Vital Statistics Report, Volume 55, No. 19, August 21, 2007. Hyattsville, MD: CDC National Center for Health Statistics.
- Chen CM, Yi H. Trends in alcohol-related morbidity among short-stay community hospital discharges, United States, 1979–2005 [PDF 1.78MB]. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. NIAAA Surveillance Report #80, 2007.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts 2006 [PDF 990KB]. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Center for Statistics & Analysis. DOT HS 810 818, 2008.
- Scott KD, Schafer J, Greenfield TK. The roles of alcohol in physical assault perpetration and victimization. J Stud Alcohol 1999;60:528–536.
- Hayward l, Zubrick SR, Silburn S. Blood alcohol levels in suicide cases. J Epidemiol Community Health 1992;46(3):256–260.
- May PA, Van Winkle NW, Williams MB, McFeeley PJ, DeBruyn LM, Serna P. Alcohol and suicide death among American Indians of New Mexico: 1980-1998. Suicide Life Threat Behav 2002;32(3):240–255.
- Suokas J, Suominen K, Lonnqvist J. Chronic alcohol problems among suicide attempters—post-mortem findings of a 14-year follow-up. Nord J Psychiatry 2005;59(1):45–50.
- Adler RA. Clinically important effects of alcohol on endocrine function. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 1992;74(5):957–960.
- Emanuele MA, Emanuele NV. Alcohol’s effects on male reproduction. Alcohol Research and Health 1998; 22(3):195–201.
- American Cancer Society. Alcohol and Cancer [PDF–181KB]. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2006.
- Donato F, Tagger A, Chiesa R, Ribero ML, Tomasoni V, Fasola M, et al. Hepatitis B and C virus infection, alcohol drinking and hepatocellular carcinoma: a case-control study in Italy. Hepatology 1997;26(3):579–584.
- Baan R, Straif K, Grosse Y, Secretan B, et al. on behalf of the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group. Carcinogenicity of alcoholic beverages. Lancet Oncol 2007;8:292-293.