Death caused by alcoholism has been on a steady rise in the US during the pandemic according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was recorded that around 49,000 people died in 2020 due to overconsumption of alcohol. Although the rate of deaths due to alcoholism has been on a steady rise during the past decade, it jumped 26 percent between 2019 and 2020.
Marvin Ventrell, Chief executive officer of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers said that this situation was bigger than a crisis. He said that alcoholism was earlier considered to be a crisis and it has now exploded into something bigger.
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Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (ASH) commonly known as Alcoholic liver disease has been found as the major cause of alcohol-related deaths in 2020. Mental and behavioral disorders were also part of the list that contributed to alcoholic deaths.
The statistics on the death toll due to alcoholic use doesn’t include other forms of deaths where alcohol could have been one of the factors. This includes heart disease, car accidents, and cancer. According to the CDC, if these are also taken into consideration, then the numbers would triple. Adding this would also put the number of deaths way past the deaths due to drug overdose which also reached record levels during the pandemic.
George.F.Koob, Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism said that traumatic events can increase the consumption of alcohol in the general public. During the 9/11 and Katrina Hurricanes, this sort of phenomenon was observed.
So it is obvious that during a big event like the covid pandemic that lasted for almost 2 years, people started drinking more leading to alcoholism. Koob said that according to the results of the small studies that they did, 25 percent of the population increased their alcohol intake as a way of coping with stress. So gradually when they began to drink to reduce stress, it became an addiction and led to alcohol use disorder.
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Ventrell pointed out that such a big issue has been affecting society because of the easy accessibility of alcohol. He says that even when people know that alcohol is a harmful substance, its easy availability and the less stigma around the usage of alcohol make it a prime candidate for addiction and abuse. Experts say that even though the effect of alcohol isn’t as quick as other forms of drugs, it doesn’t make it any less dangerous than other drugs.
Dr.James Latronica, a family medicine doctor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Western Psychiatric Hospitals warns that alcohol is a slow killer as it causes damage to your body over a long time. The CDC observes that middle-aged men were more susceptible to have died due to alcohol abuse in 2020.
The average age range of people who died was around 55 to 64. Although the number of men who died was three times more than women, the death rate among women was also the highest compared to previous data.
A recent study revealed that 5 years before the pandemic situation, 1 in 5 people in the US within the age group of 20 to 49 died because of excessive use of alcohol. Experts are saying that the number of deaths would be more in the coming years as there would be a continuing effect of alcoholism during the pandemic years. Timely intervention and screening for alcohol overuse can hopefully prevent a lot of deaths in the future. If you or anyone you know is going through a case of alcohol overuse, please visit your healthcare expert at the earliest.
🔵 Cleveland.org(2022). Alcohol Use Disorder: What It Is, Risks & Treatment.available(online)at.https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/3909-alcoholism
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