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Does the Media Affect Alcohol Use?

Alcohol abuse extends far back into human history, long before the existence of modern media. However, it would be difficult to overstate the impact that modern popular culture can have on our relationship with the drink. Alcohol use and abuse had been documented and promoted in many avenues of current mass media, including the following:

  • Television programming and advertising
  • Sporting event advertising
  • Film
  • Radio
  • Popular music
  • Print advertising
  • Billboards
  • Internet advertising
  • Video games

The prevalence of alcohol marketing and advertising is so common that many people no longer notice that it is present. Many video games even reference alcohol within the context of play.

The American alcoholic beverage industry generates over $155 billion annually and much of that is driven by massive marketing budgets that convey messages about the good times drinkers will experience if they choose one particular brand of beer, wine or liquor over another. This onslaught of marketing, combined with relatively lax laws about the sale and consumption of alcohol, has coincided with an increase in alcohol abuse in America. If media messaging did not drive the massive sales of alcohol in America, the industry would not be spending billions of dollars each year on media advertising and product placement.

Alcohol Abuse Statistics in America

You may be surprised by a number of facts about Americans and alcohol, including the following:

  • According to a 2008 Bailey and Sokol study, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are the leading preventable cause of birth defects in the US
  • According to a 2000 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, alcohol is connected to over 85,000 deaths in the US every year and annual deaths connected to alcohol abuse outnumber those caused by all illegal drugs combined
  • Alcohol abuse is the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the US, behind only smoking and obesity
  • According to a 1997 National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey, individuals who have their first drink before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become alcoholics than those who do not drink until they are over 20 years old
  • According to the 2008 guidelines published by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture, adult alcohol consumption should be limited to one drink per day for women and two per day for men

Find Professional Alcoholism Help Today

The following questions may be used to help you identify alcohol addiction in your life or the life of a loved one:

  • Are you ever dishonest about your drinking?
  • Do you find yourself thinking about alcohol regularly?
  • Once you have a single drink, is it difficult for you to stop?
  • Do you get irritable or defensive when confronted about your drinking?
  • Do you need a one or two drinks in order to feel comfortable in social settings?
  • Have you decided to stop drinking in the past but find yourself returning to alcohol?
  • Have you lost interest in activities, hobbies or people that were once important to you?
  • Do you instinctively associate alcohol use with having a good time?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are standing by 24 hours a day to confidentially answer any questions you may have about alcoholism and how to find lasting recovery. Please call now.