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Alcohol-Related Deaths in the UK on the Rise

Alcohol-Related Deaths in the UK on the Rise

The consumption of alcoholic beverages across the nation and the cases of chronic diseases and deaths linked to these substances has been soaring in recent years. This worrying trend worsened during the pandemic year, just as experts had projected. As the impacts of the pandemic stretch into the future, there’s a high possibility of additional alcohol-specific mortalities in the years to come.

Factors Causing the Surge in Alcohol-Specific Fatalities

The alcohol-related mortality rates across the nation had been stable between 2012 to 2019 but took off in 2020 when the pandemic struck the nation. Public health experts believe that the increase in high-risk drinking during the Coronavirus era and the persistent culture of heavy alcohol intake are responsible for these deaths.

The current findings on alcohol mortality data by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal the following:

  • In 2020 alone, the total number of alcohol-related mortalities registered in the UK was 8,974, almost 19% up from 2019. The death rates during the pandemic period marked the highest number of alcohol-induced fatalities ever recorded.
  • These alcohol-related mortalities were linked to alcoholic liver diseases, mental and behavioural disorders, and accidental alcohol poisoning.
  • Alcohol liver diseases accounted for roughly 77.8% of these deaths, followed by mental and behavioural disorders (nearly 12.1%) and alcohol poisoning, responsible for 6.2% of the fatalities.
  • The alcohol-specific death rates among the male population in the UK in 2020 were twice as high as the death rates among the female population.

These same findings show that between the start of the pandemic to March 2021, men drank more than 50 units of alcohol every week while females consumed 35 units weekly,  which is way above the recommended safe consumption levels by the National Health Service (NHS) — a maximum of 14 units weekly.

The pandemic era shifted the nation’s drinking habits for the worst as more and more people turned to the bottle. Drinking became the most convenient way of coping with the economic hardships, feelings of isolation and boredom, and high-stress levels associated with the pandemic. Most of the deaths fully attributed to harmful alcohol use are happening prematurely, meaning high-risk drinking is claiming people’s lives in their prime years.

During this pandemic period, the availability of alcoholic drinks also increased because of the widespread reliance on home deliveries. Online purchases encouraged people to hoard alcohol. What’s more, people who were already drinking heavily before the pandemic increased their consumption, and most moderate drinkers adopted potentially risky drinking habits.

Not to mention, many of those who were in recovery from alcohol addiction had a difficult time connecting with support networks and thus relapsed. Lockdowns forced people with a history of problem drinking to return to their old habits, as many spent hours indoors. They turned to drinking to kill boredom without realising that their alcohol intake was at harmful levels.

After years of excessive drinking (during pre-pandemic) and increased consumption throughout the pandemic, more people are being hospitalised for severe alcohol-associated liver disease and succumbing to these harms. Alcoholic liver disease includes these three conditions: alcoholic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and alcoholic fatty liver disease. They’re primarily caused by overconsuming alcohol over a long period.

Although the full extent of the Covid pandemic’s impact on alcohol-related fatalities is still being compiled, these deaths could likely be higher in 2021 and beyond because the survival rate of severe alcoholic liver disease is often low.

To date, heavy drinking is prevalent since the effects of the pandemic still linger, meaning more people are at risk of advanced liver disease. Furthermore, with the increasing demand for liver transplants, many in urgent need of a transplant may not survive because of the long waiting list.

Healing From Alcoholism and Ways to Control Your Drinking

If you struggle with uncontrolled alcohol use, it’s important to seek immediate professional help before the damaging effects of this substance on your body take hold. Overcoming long-term alcohol dependence is highly possible with the support of medical specialists like those from UK Home Detox, who can help you detox safely from alcohol and ensure your body goes back to its normal way of functioning without this substance. By seeking detox treatment sooner than later, your medically-assisted withdrawal process will be less complicated.

Achieving full recovery from this illness also requires you to enter a rehabilitation program. Rehab will enable you to find relief from the underlying causes of your addiction, equip you with better coping mechanisms to deal with stressful situations without turning to a drink, and help you learn how to manage the urges to use alcohol.

If you’re a moderate drinker, controlling your consumption will minimise your risks of alcohol-related health conditions, which manifest when your drinking gradually spirals out of control. Here are a few tips to help you maintain low-risk drinking habits:

  • Anytime you plan on drinking, set a limit on how much you’ll take and ensure not to exceed these limits. Plus, always drink a glass of water before having the next drink.
  • Alternate strong alcoholic drinks with low-strength alcoholic beverages
  • Switch from alcoholic beverages to non-alcoholic drinks from time to time
  • Have alcohol-free days every week so that your drinking isn’t as frequent during the week.
  • Carry with you a fixed amount of money every time you visit social joints to ensure you don’t overspend on alcohol
  • Opt for smaller drink sizes to reduce your intake. For instance, instead of having a large glass of wine, consider a smaller glass.
  • Keep your friends and loved ones updated on your plans to control your consumption. They can help you remain accountable to your drinking limits.

Alcohol-Related Deaths: Final Thoughts

The growing threats of high-risk drinking patterns to public health can’t be ignored. Full-blown alcohol addiction has serious health consequences that can be fatal if professional help isn’t sought early enough. When you seek early treatment for alcoholism and adopt low risk-drinking habits, you’ll have a chance to live a healthy and fulfilling life.

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