Number of patients admitted to NHS hospitals for alcohol fuelled-illnesses rises by a fifth in a decade, shocking figures show
- Some 357,660 people treated for drink-fuelled illnesses in 2019, NHS data show
- Cancer made up almost a quarter of all the admissions, followed by accidents
- Stoke-on-Trent was found to be the worst offender for alcohol related cases
The number of patients admitted to hospital for alcohol-related illnesses has spiked by a fifth in a decade, shocking figures show.
There were at least 357,660 people hospitalised for drink-fuelled conditions in England in 2019, a 19 per cent rise from the 300,930 recorded in 2009.
They include patients with liver damage, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes all caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
Cancer, which is known to cause seven types of the disease and linked to more, made up almost a quarter of all the admissions (23 per cent).
Unintentional injuries such as car crashes, falls and alcohol poisoning, were the second biggest cause.
There were at least 357,660 people hospitalised in England in 2019, a 19 per cent rise from the 300,930 recorded in 2008/09. They include patients with liver damage, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes all caused by excessive alcohol consumption
Stoke-on-Trent was found to be the worst offender for alcohol related cases. On the opposite end of the scale, East Sussex had the lowest reported rate across Britain
Middle-aged and older adults aged between 45 to 64 made up the majority of all admissions (40 per cent), NHS Digital statistics show.
While men, known to be heavier drinkers, are responsible for more than two thirds of all drink-fuelled hospital visits.
The actual number of alcohol-related hospital admissions across Britain is estimated to be around 1.3 million.
But not all of these instances had alcohol as the attributable factor in the patient’s medical notes.
Stoke-on-Trent was found to be the worst offender for alcohol related cases.
For every 100,000 people living in the port city, 1,130 require hospital treatment for a condition spurred on by drinking too much. This is the equivalent to 1.16 per cent of all residents
On the opposite end of the scale, East Sussex had the lowest reported rate across Britain.
Just 320 people required hospital treatment for their alcohol-related illnesses per 100,000 people (0.32 per cent).
Alcohol-related deaths have also risen by 7 per cent in the last decade, the figures show.
Alcohol-related deaths have also risen by 7 per cent in the last decade, the figures show. Liver disease accounted for eight out of ten deaths, and a further 10 per cent were from mental and behavioural disorders due to the use of alcohol, including suicide
In England in 2018, there were 5,698 alcohol-specific deaths, compared to 5,300 in 2008.
But drink-fuelled deaths have actually decreased by 2 per cent in the last year, falling from 5,812 in 2017.
Alcoholic liver disease accounted for eight out of ten deaths, and a further 10 per cent were from mental and behavioural disorders due to the use of alcohol, including suicide.
The report also found that men and women aged 55 to 64 are the most likely to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week – the maximum amount recommended by the NHS.
Some 38 per cent of men and 19 per cent of women in this age group usually drink more than 14 units in a week, the data showed, while 76,000 people in 2018/19 were treated for problematic drinking alone.
Middle-aged and older adults aged between 45 to 64 made up the majority of all admissions (40 per cent), NHS Digital statistics show
Laura Bunt, acting chief executive of the charity Addaction, said: ‘In 2018 the UK government announced it would be creating a new, stand-alone alcohol strategy.
‘But this January, the promise was quietly rolled back. These statistics show that a new approach is needed.
‘We know that minimum unit pricing, which sets a price below which a unit of alcohol can’t be legally sold, has been effective in reducing alcohol consumption.
‘In Scotland, alcohol sales have hit a 25-year low since it was introduced in 2018. While there needs to be a national strategy, we can see from these statistics that the group most at risk are older adults.
‘We’ve learnt from our services that as people age, big life events such as divorce, bereavement, financial issues or even retirement can leave people feeling isolated and unable to cope.
‘What’s more, harmful alcohol use among older adults is often a hidden problem, with many drinking at home alone instead of out and socialising.’
WHAT IS ALCOHOLISM AND HOW IS IT TREATED IN THE UK?
Alcoholism is the most severe form of alcohol abuse and involves the inability to manage drinking habits.
It is organised into three categories: mild, moderate and severe. Each category has various symptoms and can cause harmful side effects.
If left untreated, any type of alcohol abuse can spiral out of control.
Individuals struggling with alcoholism often feel as though they cannot function normally without alcohol.
This can lead to a wide range of issues and impact professional goals, personal matters, relationships and overall health.
Sometimes the warning signs of alcohol abuse are very noticeable. Other times, they can take longer to surface.
When alcohol addiction is discovered in its early stages, the chance for a successful recovery increases significantly.
Common signs of alcoholism include:
- Being unable to control alcohol consumption
- Craving alcohol when you’re not drinking
- Putting alcohol above personal responsibilities
- Feeling the need to keep drinking more
- Spending a substantial amount of money on alcohol
- Behaving differently after drinking
Short-term effects of alcohol abuse can be just as dangerous as long-term effects.
For instance, drinking can impact your reaction time, causing you to have slow reflexes and coordination.
That’s why drinking and driving is extremely dangerous. Getting behind the wheel of a car can alter your perception of speed and distance, putting yourself and others at risk.
Several short-term effects of alcohol abuse may produce:
- Slow reaction time
- Poor reflexes
- Reduce brain activity
- Lowered inhibitions
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty breathing
Additionally, consuming too much alcohol can affect your long-term health. Some side effects may lay dormant for years before they surface.
Because of this, professional medical care is required for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Long-term health conditions caused by alcohol:
- Brain defects
- Liver disease
- Diabetes complications
- Heart problems
- Increased risk of cancer
- Vision damage
- Bone loss
Treatment for Alcoholism
There are different forms of treatment available based on frequency and severity of alcohol abuse.
Recovering from alcohol addiction is a process that continues long after rehab.
It takes commitment to practice and apply the techniques you learn in rehab, counseling, support groups and other types of therapy.
Although every individual will have their own recovery plan that’s tailored to their specific needs, treatment generally follows a structure.
Alcohol treatment is broken into three sections, consisting of:
The first stage in alcohol addiction recovery is detoxification. This phase should be completed with the help of medical professionals due to the potential for serious, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Many times, individuals are given a medication to help alleviate the painful side effects of a withdrawal.
There are two types of rehabilitation that help treat alcoholism: inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab. Inpatient rehabs are intensive treatment programs that require you to check into a facility for a certain period of time, usually 30, 60 or 90 days. Outpatient rehab allows individuals to participate in a recovery program while continuing with their daily life. Talk with your doctor about treatment options to determine which form of recovery will best fit your needs.
The recovery process doesn’t end with the completion of rehab. Long-term sobriety requires ongoing therapy and may entail support groups, counseling and other recovery resources. These will make sure you maintain sobriety and continue on a happy, healthy path for months and years to come.
Source: Alcohol Rehab Guide
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