It is estimated that about three-quarters of the population drink alcohol. Of this number, about 4 to 5 million Canadians will find that their alcohol consumption leads to serious problems involving their health, work, finances, and relationships with family and friends. When a person uses alcohol despite apparent harm to their health and well-being, it is called alcohol abuse (or dependence), or alcoholism.
In general, men are more likely than women to develop alcoholism. However, the incidence of alcoholism among women has increased in the past 30 years.