Alcohol can lead to a shorter life expectancy in different ways. Drinking alcohol on a regular and long-term basis can increase the risk of developing life-threatening diseases or conditions.
Some of these diseases and medical conditions include:
- damage to the heart
- high blood pressure
- cirrhosis of the liver
- cancer of the liver, head, neck, colon, breast, and esophagus
Alcohol And The Immune System
Long-term alcohol abuse can also decrease life expectancy due to a weakened immune system. Too much alcohol can make it harder for the immune system to fight infections and illnesses.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, chronic drinkers are at-risk of developing illnesses that can cause fatal complications, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis.
Alcohol And Suicide
Alcohol addiction has also been associated with an increased risk of suicide. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to a higher risk of depression and other mood changes that are linked to suicidal behavior.
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A 2010 study showed an association between alcohol use disorder and risk of suicide, especially when combined with other factors like poverty or the sudden loss of a job or a loved one.
Life Expectancy Of An Alcoholic
For someone with alcohol addiction, life expectancy can end up being significantly shorter.
A 2014 study on people with alcohol use disorder in Sweden, Finland, and Denmark showed that life expectancy was between 24 and 28 years shorter compared to the general population.
The average life expectancy for men with alcohol use disorder was between 47 and 53 years. The average life expectancy for women with alcohol use disorder was between 50 and 58 years.
The study also showed increased mortality due to all causes of deaths, including diseases, medical conditions, and suicide.
One Drink A Day
A shorter life expectancy isn’t just associated with drinking multiple drinks per day or binge drinking. In fact, a recent study found that drinking one drink per day regularly can also lead to a shorter life expectancy.
The study showed that having over 100 grams of alcohol on a weekly basis, which is equivalent to having one drink per day, can lead to an earlier death.
The results of this research suggests:
- Having between 100 and 200 grams of alcohol per week could shorten the life expectancy of a 40-year-old by an estimated six months.
- Having between 200 and 350 grams of alcohol on a weekly basis was associated with a one- to two-year decrease in life expectancy.
- Having over 350 grams of alcohol each week was linked to a four- to five-year decrease in life expectancy.
Alcohol And Aging
Even if your drinking habits never change, your body changes as it grows older. Drinking problems may get overlooked and be mistakenly associated with old age.
Consider some facts about alcohol and aging:
- health conditions can worsen
- medical problems can be harder to find and treat
- forgetfulness and confusion caused by alcohol can be mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease
Elderly people may also be more susceptible to the intoxicating effects of alcohol. This can lead to accidents like car crashes or falls that can cause unexpected or early death.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment For Improved Health
Although alcohol addiction can affect your life expectancy, there are ways to get help. Rehab programs for alcohol addiction can help you get through withdrawal and develop skills for a healthy recovery.
Turning Point offers rehab services for alcohol addiction, including medically supervised detox programs, inpatient care, and outpatient programs. These services can provide you with support for overcoming this type of addiction and building a healthy lifestyle.
To learn more about treatment at Turning Point, contact us today.
- https://www.turningpointtreatment.org/blog/signs-of-alcoholism/ — Alcohol FAQs
- CNN — Even One Drink a Day Could Be Shortening Your Life Expectancy
- National Institute on Aging — Facts About Aging and Alcohol
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Alcohol's Effects on the Body
- National Center for Biotechnology Information — Mortality and Life Expectancy of People with Alcohol Use Disorder in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden
- National Center for Biotechnology Information — Suicidal Behavior and Alcohol Abuse