Excessive Alcohol Use is a Risk to Men's Health

Men are more likely than women to drink excessively.1-3 Excessive drinking is associated with significant risks to men’s health and safety, and the risks increase with the amount of alcohol consumed. Men are also more likely than women to take other risks (such as misusing other substances, having multiple sex partners, or not wearing a seat belt), that when combined with alcohol, further increase their risk of illness, injury or death.4-7

despondent man with glass of alcohol

Adult Men Drink More than Women

  • Almost 59% of adult men report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days compared with 47% of adult women.1
  • Men are almost two times more likely to binge drink than women.1-3 Approximately 22% of men report binge drinking and on average do so 5 times a month, consuming 8 drinks per binge.2
  • In 2019, 7% of men had an alcohol use disorder compared with 4% of women.4

Alcohol is Associated with Injury, Violence, and Other Harms

  • Men have higher rates of alcohol-related hospitalizations than women.8
  • Nearly three-quarters of deaths from excessive drinking are among males, totaling about 68,000 deaths each year in the U.S.9
  • Among drivers in fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes, men are 50% more likely to have been intoxicated (i.e., a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater) compared with women.10
  • Excessive alcohol consumption increases aggression and may increase the risk of physically assaulting another person.11 Alcohol is a key risk factor for sexual violence perpetration.12
  • Males are more than three times as likely to die by suicide than females, and more likely to have been drinking prior to suicide.13-15
  • Alcohol use is one of the most important preventable risk factors for cancer.16 Alcohol use increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon, which are more common among men.16,17 Drinking alcohol also increases the risk of prostate cancer.18

Alcohol May Affect Men’s Sexual and Reproductive Health

  • Excessive alcohol use can interfere with testicular function and male hormone production resulting in erectile dysfunction and infertility.19
  • Alcohol use by men also 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 infections.20,21

Men can reduce the amount of alcohol they drink to reduce their risk of health problems and other harms.

The Alcohol Use and Your Health Fact Sheet addresses a number of additional health conditions associated with excessive alcohol use that affect both men and women.

    1. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Accessed September 6, 2020.
    2. Chronic Disease Indicators. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Accessed August 31, 2020.
    3. Kanny D, Naimi TS, Liu Y, Lu H, Brewer RD. Annual total binge drinks consumed by U.S. adults, 2015external icon. Am J Prev Med 2018;54:486–496.
    4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tablesexternal icon. Rockville, MD: 2020.
    5. Tori ME, Larochelle MR, Naimi TS. Alcohol or benzodiazepine co-involvement with opioid overdose deaths in the United States, 1999-2017external icon. JAMA Netw Open 2020;3:e202361.
    6. Key Statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Accessed September 6, 2020.
    7. Beck LF, Downs J, Stevens MR, Sauber-Schatz EK. Rural and urban differences in passenger-vehicle–occupant deaths and seat belt use among adults — United States, 2014. MMWR 17;66:1–13.
    8. Chen CM, Yoon Y. Trends in alcohol-related morbidity among community hospital discharges, United States, 2000-2014pdf iconexternal icon. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2017.
    9. Esser MB, Sherk A, Liu Y, et al. Deaths and years of potential life lost from excessive alcohol use — United States, 2011–2015. MMWR 2020;69:1428–1433.
    10. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts Annual Report Tables – 2018.external icon Washington, DC: NHTSA, 2019.
    11. Crane CA, Godleski SA, Przybyla SM, Schlauch RC, Testa M. The proximal effects of acute alcohol consumption on male-to-female aggression: A meta-analytic review of the experimental literatureexternal icon. Trauma Violence Abuse 2016;17:520–531.
    12. Abbey A, Wegner R, Woerner J, Pegram SE, Pierce J. Review of survey and experimental research that examines the relationship between alcohol consumption and men’s sexual aggression perpetrationexternal icon. Trauma Violence Abuse 2014;15:265–282.
    13. Stone DM, Simon TR, Fowler KA, et al. Vital Signs: Trends in state suicide rates – United States, 1999–2016 and circumstances contributing to suicide – 27 states, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:617–624.
    14. Kaplan MS, Huguet N, McFarland BH, Caetano R, et al. Use of alcohol before suicide in the United Statesexternal icon. Ann Epidemiol 2014;24:588–592.e1–2.
    15. Borges G, Bagge CL, Cherpitel CJ, Conner KR. A meta-analysis of acute use of alcohol and the risk of suicide attemptexternal icon. Psych Med 2017;47:949–957.
    16. Alcohol use and cancerexternal icon. American Cancer Society website. Accessed September 16, 2020.
    17. Rehm J, Shield KD, Weiderpass E. Alcohol Consumption: A Leading Risk Factor for Cancer. In: Wild CP, Weiderpass E, Stewart BW, eds. World Cancer Reportexternal icon. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2020:68–76.
    18. Zhao J, Stockwell T, Roemer A, Chikritzhs T. Is alcohol consumption a risk factor for prostate cancer? A systematic review and meta-analysisexternal icon. BMC Cancer 2016;16:845.
    19. Rachdaoui N, Sarkar DK. Pathophysiology of the effects of alcohol abuse on the endocrine systemexternal icon. Alcohol Res 2017;38:255–276.
    20. Staying Healthy and Preventing STDs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Accessed September 30, 2020.
    21. Chandra A, Billioux VG, Copen CE, Sionean C. HIV risk-related behaviors in the United States household population aged 15-44 years: data from the National Survey of Family Growth, 2002 and 2006-2010external icon. Hyattsville, MD: CDC, 2012.