Did you know that excessive drinking is the top cause of preventable deaths in the United States? In 2011-2015, an estimated 95,000 people died due to excessive drinking, with 71.4% of the total deaths involving males. Excessive drinking is a broad term used to encompass different types of drinking patterns, such as binge drinking and heavy drinking.
For men, binge drinking is when you have 5 or more drinks in a single sitting. Heavy drinking is also measured under the same guidelines, with men having 15 or more drinks per week. These numbers come from an overall average scale used to show alcohol dependence and abuse.
The overconsumption of alcohol has damaging long and short-term effects on your health and social life. Join us today as we take a more detailed evaluation of the numbers to get an idea of why drinking has caused so many deaths from alcohol in the United States.
The number 95,000 might not seem as impactful considering the total number of deaths over a year. But what if we shrunk the number down to size to highlight how these yearly deaths average out to around 261 deaths from alcohol per day.
Imagine, all across the country, daily, 261 people passing away due to excessive drinking and alcohol-related deaths. This number puts the yearly estimate into perspective to show us just how dangerous excessive drinking is and how many people it can affect the course of a single day.
When we look a little closer at the numbers, we see that 55.6% of deaths involved adults ages 35-64, and 15.6% involved young adults 20-34 years of age. This means that, on average, 29 years of life have been lost per death. An estimate of 2.8 million years of potential life has been lost in total from that number.
Unfortunately, many people have lost their lives too early due to excessive drinking, which has either caused the primary death or attributed to the worsening of a pre-existing chronic illness.
Limitations to the Numbers
There are a few things to keep in mind when reflecting on the numbers we have just discussed. These statistics were gathered by examining self-reported data such as questionnaires and surveys, which means that the numbers can be underestimated and not an actual reflection of someone’s drinking behavior or patterns.
Another limitation is that the total deaths from alcohol were based on the primary cause of death. For example, if a person were to pass away from a chronic disease, that would be their primary cause of death. However, if they participated in heavy or binge drinking during their chronic illness, which made their condition worse, ultimately leading to their death, it would not be considered death from alcohol. In these cases, official news sources can also underestimate the total number of deaths from excessive drinking that occurred in a year throughout the United States.
It is essential to understand where these numbers come from and their limitations to better understand the bigger picture.
What Excessive Drinking Does to Your Body
Excessive drinking has many harmful effects on your body. It can worsen problems when you already have an underlying condition such as heart disease, kidney, or liver failure. Unfortunately, many people suffering from chronic illness are not aware of the health implications that heavy or binge drinking may have for them and the future of their health.
Even for a mostly healthy person, excessive daily drinking can cause a quick decline in your health to the point of no return. Alcohol can affect the body in short term ways, some of which include:
- raised blood pressure
- loss of coordination
- reduced body temperature
- impaired speech
- anemia (low iron)
- breathing difficulties
Long term effects also include:
- irregular heartbeats
- loss of attention span
- fatty liver
- memory loss
- permanent damage to the brain
The problems surrounding excessive drinking are many and should be highlighted, especially if you suffer from a pre-existing chronic illness. Drinking can add to a chronic illness by making symptoms worse and create even more issues.
Want to live a long, happy, and healthy life? At Serenity Springs, we give you the tools to live that life while staying clean and sober so that you won’t be part of a statistic. If you or a loved one suffer from alcohol and or drug dependency and abuse, we are here to help you on your journey to recovery. Visit us today to learn more about our many beneficial services and programs. The pandemic should not stop you on your journey to recovery.