According to researchers, alcohol consumption is the leading risk factor for death and disease, associated with 2.8 million deaths each year. Researchers analyzed data from 694 studies to estimate worldwide drinking patterns of 28 million people in 195 countries. The findings: alcohol was the leading risk factor for disease and premature death in both men and women, ages of 15 and 49, worldwide in 2016. It accounted for nearly one in 10 deaths.
This included deaths from the following:
- Alcohol-related cancer
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis
- Violence and self-harm
- Traffic accidents
- Unintentional injuries (drowning and fires)
Perhaps the most surprising part of the findings was that no amount of alcohol was found to be safe. “Previous studies have found a protective effect of alcohol on some conditions, but we found that the combined health risks associated with alcohol increase with any amount of alcohol,” lead author Max Griswold of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, told USA Today.
Griswold said even two to three drinks daily can cause harm and urges people to consume less alcohol. “If everyone cut their consumption in half, we could save a million lives globally,” Griswold told USA Today.
Researchers did not examine the effects of drinking under the age of 15, which is a growing problem in both the U.S. and other countries, said researchers. What’s more, young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.
Getting Help for Alcohol Use Disorder
The longer problematic drinking persists, the more serious it becomes in the future. At Family Recovery Specialists, we can work together to create an individualized plan to help your loved one realize his or her potential and ability to live a happy, healthy and alcohol-free lifestyle. To learn more about our substance abuse treatment services, call today: 305-595-7378.