Unfortunately, the majority of the most common causes of death can potentially be linked to alcohol addiction – heart disease, liver disease, strokes and even cancer could potentially be caused by long term alcohol abuse.
But this is without going into long term conditions like wet brain, seizures or head injuries caused by the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, the fact people under the influence are more likely to use hard drugs such as heroin or opiates, or even the fights or accidents that regularly can be caused by alcohol inebriation.
With all of these varying factors, getting an accurate number of alcohol deaths per year in the UK can be difficult, but one thing is for sure – the number is higher than you’d hope it would be.
Alcohol Related Deaths UK: Statistics
In 2017, 7,697 alcohol-related deaths were recorded in the United Kingdom. This number continued the constant upward trend that had been ongoing since 2012, as shown by the below graph courtesy of the Office of National Statistics:
Of these deaths, 5,974 were caused by liver disease, making this the condition of the highest risk for people suffering from alcohol dependency.
Alcohol Specific Deaths in the UK By Gender
Since 2001, it has remained consistent that of these alcohol related deaths, over 66% are men. In 2017, alcohol-related deaths were most common among men aged 60-64 years old, and women aged 55 to 59 years old.
According to NHS England, in 2017, 80% of alcohol related deaths could be linked to liver disease, and deaths related to alcohol were at their highest concentration in the North East of England (20.1 per 100,000 people) and at their lowest in London (11.1 per 100,000 people).
These numbers seem to suggest that the number of alcohol related deaths are directly relatable to the rates of alcohol addiction, which should unfortunately be no surprise.
The Office of National Statistics also maintains a list of causes of death that are considered alcohol-specific, which frankly makes for terrifying reading:
- Alcohol-induced pseudo-Cushing’s syndrome
- Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of alcohol
- Degeneration of nervous system due to alcohol
- Alcoholic polyneuropathy
- Alcoholic myopathy
- Alcoholic cardiomyopathy
- Alcoholic gastritis
- Alcoholic liver disease
- Alcohol-induced acute pancreatitis
- Alcohol induced chronic pancreatitis
- Fetal induced alcohol syndrome (dysmorphic)
- Excess alcohol blood levels
- Accidental poisoning by and exposure to alcohol
- Intentional self-poisoning by and exposure to alcohol
- Poisoning by and exposure to alcohol, undetermined intent
While the statistics for the UK alone may be enough to make us want to stop drinking for good, according to the World Health Organisation, 3 million people die of alcohol-related causes every year, representing over 5% of all deaths.
This number increases to 13.5% for people aged between 20 and 39 years, and this is while ignoring alcohol-enabled deaths such as those related to unprotected sex or tuberculosis, or indeed drink driving.
Why is Alcohol Addiction so Dangerous?
The fact of the matter is, the human body is not supposed to drink alcohol. Heavy alcohol use destroys our stores of vitamins and minerals, puts huge stress on the liver and heart, causes aggression or personality changes, and even the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be fatal.
While occasional, social alcohol use shouldn’t be a problem, when it becomes a habit or an addiction, without recovery or professional help, most people are on the path to disaster.
Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, which is what leads to decreased anxiety and increased social confidence (or, ‘dutch courage’) in moderate use. However, when we drink regularly for a long period of time, the central nervous system adapts to this suppression and works harder.
This causes overstimulation of the central nervous system when we stop drinking, and since the CNS is behind our fight or flight responses, this can lead to trembling, anxiety and panic attacks, nausea, headaches, sweating, agitation or anger, and even seizures and death.
While the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are extremely scary and uncomfortable for those trying to quit alcohol, continuing to drink in order to reduce these symptoms will only continue to damage the nutrient stores, liver and heart, and lead to even worse withdrawal symptoms when the patient tries to quit again in the future.
The best thing any alcohol dependent person can do to avoid an early death is to quit drinking immediately and to stick through the unfortunately very difficult withdrawal period. If these seems impossible or too difficult, the key is to get professional help.
While rehab clinics have a reputation for being expensive, in the modern day we have access to home detox programmes that are a fraction of the cost, and with a variety of interest-free loans and medical insurance policies, financial worries never need to be the cause of a premature end to life.
Get Help for Alcohol Addiction
Here at Home Detox, we offer the UK’s most effective alcohol withdrawal treatment from home. From the comfort of your own environment, you can gain access to:
- A 24/7 helpline with access to nurses, GPs, therapists, and people who have overcome alcohol addiction before
- Medication to reduce the symptoms of alcohol detox and withdrawal
- Cognitive behavioural therapy sessions
- Local support groups
- A GP consultation to address any specific issues or health complaints you may have
- Nutritionists to keep you healthy, aid your recovery and replace your nutrient stores
All of this may sound intimidating, but it has been proven to give you the best possible chance at recovery, and letting you live a longer, fuller life!
Start your Alcohol-Free Journey Today
If you are ready to take that first step towards recovery, contact Steps on 0333 444 0315. Let our counsellors and advisors equip you with the information and treatments you will need to sober up and stay away from alcohol abuse for good.
Along with an alcohol home detox programme, you will also have access to resources that include counsellors and therapists, and medical professionals. Our addiction management advisors are also on hand, providing practical help and support in the form of regular contact, encouragement and tips on recovery.