28 Sep What is the Life Expectancy of an Alcoholic?
Alcoholism and Your Health
When you consume large amounts of alcohol, it causes disruptions in the brain specifically with the communication pathways, often resulting in changes in mood and behaviors. If you drink enough alcohol, it could affect your coordination and ability to think clearly.
“No level of alcohol consumption can be considered safe for everyone. To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury for healthy men and women, drink no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day. A standard drink is a can of mid-strength beer, 100ml of wine, or a 30ml shot of spirits.”
Drinking large quantities of alcohol can increase your risk for short-term and long-term health effects or illness. These effects can continue to harm your health over the course of your entire lifetime.
The alcohol detox and rehab program at Inland Detox can help you move through recovery comfortably and in a safe environment, with the support of our highly trained staff. We understand how challenging it can be to overcome an alcohol addiction, and we are here to help you every step of the way.
Health Concerns and Consuming Alcohol
Moderate drinkers that consume a large amount of alcohol (more than 2 drinks per day) can cause serious damage to their mental and physical health. The risks are heightened if you suffer from mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety.
You are at an increased risk for cancer if you regularly drink alcohol, and specifically the more alcohol you drink on a consistent basis the higher likelihood you have to die at an earlier age or develop specific types of cancers. The most common cancers among drinkers are that of the head and neck, liver, esophageal, colorectal and breast cancers.
“Based on extensive reviews of research studies, there is a strong scientific consensus of an association between alcohol drinking and several types of cancer. In its Report on Carcinogens, the National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services lists consumption of alcoholic beverages as a known human carcinogen.” (National Institute on Cancer, 2018).
Drinking in large quantities over a long period of time can damage the heart and lead to problems including stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, arrhythmias, and cardiomyopathy.
Moderate to heavy drinking can take a toll on your liver and lead to cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, steatosis (fatty liver), or fibrosis.
Frequently drinking alcohol can result in a weakened immune system, resulting in your body having a much more difficult time fighting illness and disease. Common illnesses that occur with a weakened immune system, especially with alcoholics, include pneumonia and tuberculosis. Even 24 hours after being drunk can slow your body’s ability to ward off infections.
The pancreas can begin to produce toxic substances leading to pancreatitis if large amounts of alcohol are consumed. This leads to a dangerous amount of swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that can disrupt proper digestion.
What is Alcohol Abuse?
If you or someone you know is regularly consuming alcohol to the point that they don’t have any control over their life, or experience negative consequences due to heavy drinking then you may have a problem. When you begin to have a strong craving for alcohol despite the ill effects it has, you may be struggling with alcoholism.
Signs of Alcoholism
- You have such a strong craving for alcohol that you can’t think about anything else
- Spend a lot of time drinking, being sick, or hungover
- Have tried to cut back or stop more than once and couldn’t
- Drink more, or for longer, than you would like to
- You are more likely to get hurt while you are drinking or after drinking
- Quit or cut back on other activities that were important to you to drink
- Keep having alcohol even though it made you depressed or anxious, hurt your health, or led to a memory blackout
Life Expectancy and Aging of an Alcoholic
If you are an alcoholic or a person who regularly abuses alcohol it can severely decrease your life expectancy and longevity of living a healthy life. This is not only because of the short and long-term health consequences, but also due to the risky behavior that can cause mortality or dangerous events to occur.
Typically, people who drink regularly in large amounts will have a shorter life expectance. From a study done in Finland, Sweden and Denmark found “Life expectancy was 24–28 years shorter in people with alcohol use disorder than in the general population. From 1987 to 2006, the difference in life expectancy between patients with alcohol use disorder and the general population increased in men (Denmark, 1.8 years; Finland, 2.6 years; Sweden, 1.0 years); in women, the difference in life expectancy increased in Denmark (0.3 years) but decreased in Finland (−0.8 years) and Sweden (−1.8 years).” (Westman, J. et. al, 2014)
You have a higher risk for medical conditions, all diseases, and all causes of death. Alcohol use disorder is a significant public health concern that can take off many years of your life expectancy. This is also true of places that have restrictive policies on alcohol consumption. If you have consistently consumed large amount of alcohol it is associated with more accidents, social problems, disease burden and other health effects.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Inland Detox
At Inland Detox we offer a comprehensive alcohol rehab and detox center that includes support during alcohol withdrawals as well as help with moving towards a full recovery. Our highly trained and compassionate staff will determine the best treatment program that is ideal for your situation, ensuring that you feel safe and comfortable the entire time.
We treat alcohol withdrawal and detox very seriously, as it can potentially be life-threatening if it is not treated properly or by a medical professional. We consider our program to be overstaffed, and we do this so that each of our clients has individual care, around the clock so that they are never feeling alone.
If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol addiction, please reach out to one of our staff members right away. We are here to help and support you during the grips of alcohol addiction.
Health Direct. (2020, January). How Alcohol Effects Your Health. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/how-alcohol-affects-your-health
National Institute on Cancer. (2018, Sept 13). Alcohol and Cancer Risk. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/alcohol/alcohol-fact-sheet
Westman, J. et. al. (2015, April). Mortality and life expectancy of people with alcohol use disorder in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4402015/