Alcoholism Across The Nation
Editor's Note: This is part of a new series of articles "Alcoholism Across The Nation" that features the struggles of alcohol addiction in individual states, cities, towns and communities across the United States. To contribute information, statistics, or a guest post to this series, email [email protected] with the subject line "Guest Contributor".

Alcohol Abuse in California

California is the largest state in the country with the highest population in the nation. Alcohol abuse is something that millions of people deal with every single day. Understanding how prevalent alcoholism is in the state, how it affects people’s lives and the effectiveness of treatment can help you see that getting help is a necessity.

Alcoholism Statistics for California

California has the hugest alcohol market in the country with approximately 14 billion alcoholic drinks consumed annually.

California is known as the tech mecca of the nation, particularly in the Bay Area. So, it’s not too surprising that Santa Clara County has some of the highest binge drinking rates between 2002 and 2012.

Alcohol abuse and dependency rates in California are higher than the average for the country: 7.3%.

Alcoholism plagues approximately 23.5 million people in the United States, and California residents make up 2.3 million of them. This equates to about 7.5% of the state’s population.

Alcohol-related deaths and injuries are in the tens of thousands and they cost the state billions of dollars each year.

Treatment for Alcohol Abuse in California

Approximately 186,000 people in California between the years 2009 and 2013 were treated for alcohol dependence or abuse. This staggering number is makes up only 8% of the people who need treatment.

Los Angeles County reported in 2012 that alcohol was the 2nd most common drug abused with marijuana being the first.

Alcoholism and drug addiction often go hand-in-hand. More than 40% of people in 2013 reported an addiction to alcohol and another drug. Only 17% reported that alcohol was their only vice.

Heroin is the only substance that had the highest admittance rate to public treatment over alcohol in 2010.

Alcohol Detox Treatment in California

California offers public and private treatment options. Public treatment is funded by the California Department of Health Care Services. These programs are often low cost or free depending on the financial need. Many of the public provides accept Medi-Cal, but those seeking treatment must first see a primary care physician for a referral.

Private treatment centers offer alcohol detox and treatment for a fee, although most of them accept insurance. Each center has their own program. Those who decide to seek private treatment often want to keep their alcoholism a secret, and have the funding to pay the fees with or without insurance.

All treatment facilities for alcohol abuse in California must be licensed through DHCS.

The Risks of Untreated Alcoholism

About 300 people in California die each year due to the toxic buildup of alcohol in the body. Alcohol poisoning is also a risk, especially for those who are binge drinkers. The following are signs of alcohol poisoning:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Going in and out of consciousness
  • Low body temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

Medical attention should be sought immediately if these symptoms present themselves after drinking.

Long term alcohol abuse can lead to disease, injury, and/or death. Alcohol-related ER visits doubled between 2006 and 2009.

For every 100,000 hospitalizations in between 2005 and 2009, 95.2 were due to alcohol, and only 79.3 were due to drugs.

Most of the people who were hospitalized suffered from alcohol-related psychosis. The next two common diagnoses were alcohol dependence and alcoholic liver disease.

It’s important to understand that alcohol-related psychosis is often due to withdrawal, and can be life-threatening. It’s never ideal to detox from alcohol without medical supervision.

Long term alcohol use often leads to liver disease, heart problems, cancer, diabetes, dementia, gastrointestinal problems, and much more. Quitting drinking as soon as possible decreases the risks of these diseases and illnesses significantly, so don’t wait.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

If you drink more than 5 drinks in one sitting more than 5 times a month, or if your drinking has caused you to lose your job or relationships, it’s time to seek alcohol addiction treatment. Call the 24/7 Addicted To Alcohol Helpline now at 855-216-0376 to speak with an alcohol abuse specialist who can help you seek detox and treatment to get on the road of sobriety.

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of articles “Alcoholism Across The Nation” that puts a spotlight on the struggles of alcohol addiction in individual states, cities, towns and communities across the United States.  These articles show us what alcoholism really means in America today, both the big picture and on a more local, meaningful level.  To contribute information, statistics, or a guest post to this series, email our Managing Editor [email protected] with the subject line “Guest Contributor”, or just leave us a comment below.