We all know excessive drinking is bad, even those who continue to practice it on a daily basis; however, a recent, comprehensive study conducted and published by the World Health Organization has managed to illuminate a new and altogether alarming revelation regarding alcohol-related death: one in 20 deaths occur as the result of harmful use of alcohol, and 75 percent of these deaths occur among men. The report measured causes of death across the globe for 2016 and found that over three million people died from unhealthy drinking behaviors. The organization reports that overall, the harmful use of alcohol causes more than 5% of the global disease burden.
Different Types of Alcohol-Related Death
The report illustrated with clear certainty that there’s more than one way for alcohol to kill and breaks down the different causes of alcohol-related death across the globe:
Injuries Caused by Accidents, High-Risk Behavior and Other Factors – 28 Percent
Digestive Disorders – 21 Percent
Cardiovascular Disease – 19 Percent
Infectious Diseases, Cancers, Mental Disorders and Other Health Conditions – 32 Percent
Alcohol was also found to be present in over 200 disease and injury conditions, ranging from mild to extremely severe. The findings of the report come shortly after another recent study published in the Journal Lancet which revealed that there is no amount of alcohol that is good for your health. In the past few years, more and more health experts have pushed back on the assertion that alcohol nets any positive health benefits.
Other Key Findings
Of the nearly 283 million people who are affected by a health issue due to excessive alcohol consumption, approximately 237 million were men and about 46 million were women. Europe had the highest rates of alcohol-related health issues with the Americas following close behind. Globally, alcohol is most consumed as hard liquor followed by beer and then wine. Eight years ago, the World Health Organization recommended systemic policy changes to decrease alcohol-related death, including changes in prices and marketing and better education regarding alcohol’s documented relationship to the global disease burden. While member nations have agreed to these guidelines, alcohol still poses a significant health risk to the world community at large.
As we continue to observe National Recovery Month, much of the national conversation has been focused on the opioid crisis and other persistent and emerging drug threats. In the meantime, alcohol poses the most significant risk of fatality of any other addictive substance.