Alcohol-Related Deaths Doubled in Past 20 YearsPat Fontana
Researchers studying the use and abuse of alcohol in the US from 1999 to 2017 have discovered some startling statistics. While the focus within the past few years has been primarily on the increase of opioid abuse and the crisis created by opioid-related overdoses and deaths, the study found that alcohol-related deaths have more than doubled in the almost 20-year time period analyzed.
The study, conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) examined data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Researchers reviewed death certificates from 1999 to 2017 that listed an underlying cause and up to 20 multiple or contributing causes. For the study, deaths were identified as alcohol-related if an alcohol-induced cause was included as either an underlying or contributing cause.
72,558 Alcohol-Related Deaths in 2017
The researchers suggest that the actual number of alcohol-related deaths may be even higher than they discovered in their study, as death certificates often fail to indicate the contribution of alcohol as a factor. For example, only about one in six drunk driving fatalities are reported as alcohol-related on death certiﬁcates. What they did find was that the number of alcohol-related deaths in the US among people over the age of 16 doubled from 35,914 in 1999 to 72,558 in 2017.
They also found that:
- The rate of alcohol-related deaths increased 50.9%
- A total of 944,880 deaths were recorded between 1999 and 2017 that were related in some manner to the use and abuse of alcohol
- In 2017, 2.6% of all deaths in the US involved alcohol
- The rate of alcohol-related death was highest among males between the ages of 45 and 74
- The largest annual increase occurred among non-Hispanic white females
- The rate of acute alcohol-related deaths increased more for people aged 55 to 64
- Rates of chronic alcohol-related deaths, which accounted for the majority of alcohol-related deaths, increased more for younger adults aged 25 to 34.
Signs of Alcohol Abuse
Across the US, more than 70% of the population over the age of 18 consumed alcohol in 2017, averaging just over two drinks per day. When does alcohol use become abuse? The causes of alcohol addiction are still largely unknown. Factors vary from one person to another. If you are a male consuming more than 15 drinks a week, a female consuming more than 12 drinks a week, or you are binge drinking – having more than 5 drinks in 1 day – more than once a week, you may be experiencing an alcohol use disorder.
If you are concerned about whether you or a loved one may be abusing alcohol, watch for these signs:
- Consistently having more drinks than originally intended
- Not able to stop drinking without help
- Experiencing cravings for alcohol
- Cutting back on activities in order to make time for drinking
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
- Experiencing problems at work, at school, or with friends and family because of drinking
The research study found that alcohol was often indicated as a contributing factor to a more direct cause of death. Almost 18% of the deaths were attributed to overdoses on alcohol alone or overdoses of alcohol combined with other drugs. Almost one-third of the deaths occurred because of liver disease that was a direct result of alcohol abuse.
In a separate study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that 49,544 alcohol-related deaths that occurred between 2006 and 2010 resulted from causes such as car crashes, falls, and drownings. Another 38,584 deaths that occurred within that same time period were a result of health conditions caused by alcohol abuse, including liver disease, heart conditions, and cancers.
Recovery from Alcohol Addiction
The roots of alcohol addiction are complex. Treatment in the form of psychotherapy can help uncover that roles that emotions, stresses, behaviors, family influences, and life’s pressures can have in alcohol abuse. Recovery from alcohol addiction is possible by gaining a clearer understanding of what has led to the pattern of self-destructive behaviors and by developing healthier coping skills that do not involve alcohol or drug use.
To Get Help with Alcohol Addiction, Contact R&A Therapeutic Partners
At R&A Therapeutic Partners, we understand the challenges you face. If you or a loved one recognizes the signs of alcohol abuse and want to speak to someone who can help, please contact R&A Therapeutic Partners today. Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno have years of experience finding people the help they need to meet their challenges, so they can live fulfilling and healthy lives.
At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.