By Dr. Liji Thomas, MD Feb 6 2020
The latest figures released by the UK’s National Health Service show an increase in the number of hospital admissions because of alcohol by well over 25%, over the last six years, alcohol also caused 6,000 deaths last year. Image Credit: Axel Bueckert / Shutterstock The scenario
About 1.3 million people were in hospital because of illnesses linked to alcohol, either as primary or secondary cause. Even in the stricter sense, alcohol contributed over 380,000 hospitalizations in 2018-19.
The report says that in Kent and Medway alone, over 35,000 people were treated for alcohol-related illness or injury in the year 2018-19, which is 6 percent more than in the previous year.
There were well over 200,000 people injured or sick due to alcohol-related issues in these areas in the years 2012-18. Almost 2 in 3 of them were men.
Reasons for hospitalization include cancer and accidental injuries, with psychiatric or behavior disorders following next. Other common reasons include heart disease, stroke, liver and lung diseases. Older but not wiser?
About 62% were men and 40% were aged 45 to 64 years. However, 77% of all alcohol-related deaths took place among people aged 40 to 69 years. And the greatest weekly spending on alcohol, at over 10 pounds, was by people aged 65 to 74 years old.
The generation aged 55-64 years, are, however, the biggest drinkers of all, putting away 14 or more units of alcohol a week. For men, 14 units a week is the maximum recommended limit according to the NHS. When it comes to a breakdown, 40% of men and 20% of women go over this limit.
Social worker Laura Bunt, who heads the charity Addaction, points out “The group most at risk are older adults. Harmful drinking among older adults is often a hidden problem, with many drinking at home instead of out and socializing.”
Some experts think that perhaps modern life is more stressful and therefore people use alcohol to medicate themselves. For instance, middle-aged people may face financial, marital, bereavement and job stresses which are met wrongly, by drinking, rather than by constructive ways of coping. Possible solutions
Kenward Trust is a charity dealing with alcoholics and their families, helping to regather disrupted dysfunctional families of alcoholics while restoring their productivity. Kenward CEO Penny Williams says the focus ought to be on rehab because this is the only way to really produce a change in behavior, with people to support alcoholics and giving them time to find their way out. She rebuts the utility of prescription medications in this group. Related Stories
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