A splitting headache is exactly what too much drinking is causing America—both in the people who imbibe and in the US economy. A CDC study says that US employers lost $77 billion in 2010 thanks to workers' impaired productivity due to excessive alcohol abuse—a number that jumps to almost $90 billion once other drinking-induced factors such as absenteeism are pulled into the mix, Bloomberg reports. And the study came up with an even more dire number for alcohol abuse's effect on the US economy overall that same year: $249 billion, a number that includes not only the lost-productivity toll, but also spending on health care, crime, car crashes, and alcohol-caused deaths.
That headache seems to be getting worse. Back in 2006, the same cost to the US economy was $224 billion, outpacing inflation, per Bloomberg. "The increase in the costs of excessive drinking from 2006 to 2010 is concerning, particularly given the severe economic recession that occurred during these years," says Robert Brewer, one of the study's authors, in the CDC release. "Effective prevention strategies can reduce excessive drinking and related costs in states and communities, but they are under used." To see how much your particular drinking habit contributes to the total cost, the Washington Post has a pull-down menu in its story. (There's only one proven way to stave off a hangover.)