How alcohol can shorten your life span by up to 28 years

By: Flaka Ismaili    May 18, 2020

People hospitalized with alcohol use disorder have an average life expectancy of 47–53 years and 50–58 years and die 24–28 years earlier than people in the general population. A new study of individuals diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder reveals a dramatic decrease in average life expectancy. After ongoing heavy use, the body may develop a physical dependence in middle-stage alcoholism, where they’ll experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop drinking. Many people use alcohol to self-medicate mental health issues like anxiety and depression. They may struggle with a mood or personality disorder or even attempt to cope with trauma by turning to alcohol. Heavy drinking can lead to alcohol use disorder, which can worsen mental health issues. Alcohol-induced liver disease refers to liver damage caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

With a management background, Kristal brings with her many skills including an advanced understanding of computer technology, administrative organization, multi-tasking and excellent customer service. With a passion for recovery, Kristal received her RADT in December of 2021. Her educational plans include obtaining her CADC certification, as well a greater understanding of the licensure and regulatory requirements as related to chemical dependency treatment. As a support to all, Kristal is committed to giving her undivided attention to all who seek her assistance. Mäkelä P, Paljärvi T. Do consequences of a given pattern of drinking vary by socioeconomic status?

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That’s a huge sample size, and while the data was limited to individuals from just three countries, the results could be considered representative of the expected results for the general population of many other countries. Visiblesigns of alcoholismmay become apparent during middle-stage alcoholism. The overwhelming need for the body to operate with alcohol in the system begins to put the disease in the driver’s seat. A person with early-stage alcoholism may also exhibit a high tolerance to alcohol. Their tolerance may go unnoticed by everyone except the people they spend the most time with.

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Life expectancy was 24–28 years shorter in people with alcohol use disorder than in the general population. People with alcohol use disorder had higher mortality from all causes of death (mortality rate ratio, 3.0–5.2), all diseases and medical conditions (2.3–4.8), and suicide (9.3–35.9). Fourth, as this is an observational study, we are unable to determine whether changes in alcohol consumption or drinking habits would affect disease-free years. Without repeat measurement of alcohol intake, it is likely that we have underestimated its impact on disease-free life-expectancy. Supporting the validity of self-reported alcohol use in IPD-Work cohort studies and UK Biobank, hazard ratios for death from alcohol-related causes were higher among heavy drinkers compared to moderate drinkers for both men and women (appendix, p. 7-8).

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Early-stage alcoholism is the beginning of the person’s chronic alcohol use. They may not appear like they have a problem despite having a higher tolerance. Heavy drinking can also cause pancreatitis, a condition characterized by pancreas inflammation and damaged cells. While alcohol is not the only cause of pancreatitis, heavy drinking can cause both chronic and acute pancreatitis.

Is 40 drinks a week too much?

What is considered a heavy drinker? According to the NIAAA, consuming seven or more drinks per week is considered heavy drinking for women, and 15 drinks or more per week is determined to be excessive or heavy drinking for men.

Since the number of female deaths is relatively small, we only analyze the life expectancy in males. Compared with nondrinkers, regular drinkers in males shortened life by 6.86 years (95% CI 6.58–7.14 years), while regular drinkers with smoking loss 10.25 years (95% CI 9.84–10.66 years) when compared to nonsmoking non-drinker. In the other hand, male modest drinkers gain 0.94 years (95% CI 0.65–1.23 years) and male modest drinkers who were never smokers gain 3.97 years (95% CI 3.65–4.29 years), but loss 2.04 years (95% CI 1.64–2.44 years) if smoking (Fig.1).

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STN, JP, and MK had full access to data from FPS, HeSSup, HHS, Gazel, Still Working, Whitehall II, WOLF N, and WOLF S cohort studies; and IEHM and JKS had full access to data from the COPSOQ II, DWECS 2000 and 2005, and IPAW studies. STN and MK had final responsibility for the decision to submit this manuscript for publication. Association of alcohol-induced loss of consciousness and overall alcohol consumption with risk for dementia. Daily drinking can have serious consequences for a person’s health, both in the short- and long-term. Many of the effects of drinking every day can be reversed through early intervention. We encourage you to learn more about The Recovery Village’s approach tohealth and wellness during alcohol treatmentand to seek help, especially if your or a loved one’s alcoholism has reached the end-stage.

  • Compared with nondrinkers, regular drinkers in males shortened life by 6.86 years (95% CI 6.58–7.14 years), while regular drinkers with smoking loss 10.25 years (95% CI 9.84–10.66 years) when compared to nonsmoking non-drinker.
  • This is because they only feel the negative effects of alcohol when they stop drinking.
  • Research has generally not found health benefits for people with heavier drinking habits — and, in fact, a recent report says that alcohol abuse is contributing to a decline in U.S. life expectancy.
  • When alcohol enters the bloodstream, one of the central impacts isslowing the rate of communication between nerve cells.

A life expectancy of an alcoholic who binge drinks while taking stimulants could suffer lethal arrhythmia. Medication – Alcohol should not be mixed with prescription and over-the-counter medications. As a depressant, alcohol can exacerbate the effects of medicines formulated to slow a user’s heart rate. This inflammation, or alcoholic hepatitis, can with time damage liver cells to the point that they begin to die off, becoming replaced with scar tissue. Known as cirrhosis of the liver, this condition is usually irreversible and can develop into organ failure.

Deaths and Years of Potential Life Lost From Excessive Alcohol Use — United States, 2011–2015

For women, heavy drinking is typically defined as consuming 8 drinks or more per week. Since it was shown in studies that alcoholics tend to die younger than non-alcoholics, doctors have questioned whether alcohol-related damage to the body is permanent.