Can alcohol abuse or alcoholism kill?
Yes. Alcohol abuse and or alcoholism kill more than 75,000 people alone in the United States annually. To be specific, this figure represents death by the disease of alcoholism and alcohol associated deaths. More here on how alcohol abuse and alcoholism kill. Plus, a section at the end for your questions about alcohol, alcohol addictive properties, or alcoholism treatment.
How alcohol abuse could kill somebody
Specific consequences of alcohol abuse include:
- alcoholic cardiomyopathy
- alcoholic liver disease
- decrease in bone density
- decrease in bone mass (leading to osteoporosis)
- heart arrythmias
- increased blood pressure
- increased risk of bone fracture
- loss of immune response
But how can alcohol abuse kill someone?
Alcohol abuse can kill a person as accidentally or as the result of alcohol abuse turning chronic. Firstly, binge drinking, alcohol poisoning and accidents caused by alcohol intoxication can all relate in death. Alcohol makes you drunk, but it also slows your response time as well as impairs the judgment control center of the brain. In this way, non-intentional deaths account for many alcohol related deaths.
But alcohol can cause death depending upon length of time of misuse. Let’s suppose a university student misused alcohol and then stopped after attending college. Alcohol abuse in college can affect the brain and central nervous system development. However, if the university student continues to abuse alcohol later on and does not stop, alcoholism and its related effects on liver and other internal organ systems is possible.
Keep in mind that when alcoholics die, MDs will not state they perished from the disease of alcoholism or by alcohol abuse; the cause of death would be found as liver failure, kidney failure, etc. To be clear: end stage alcoholism will kill you.
How the disease of alcoholism can kill someone
Long-term alcohol abuse is known to exert harmful effects on a number of the body’s organ systems, including the liver and the immune, cardiovascular, and skeletal systems. But alcoholism as a mental illness is the third largest preventable cause of death in America. So is alcoholism a lifelong disorder? Or can you get better if you stop drinking?
The disease of alcoholism makes up a major cause of death related to alcohol, but not in all alcoholics. Alcohol addiction is just like any other disease. Once you become addicted, the disease begins to advance slowly and gets worse with time. For example, compare the disease of alcoholism to cancer. The longer both of these illnesses go untreated, the deadlier the illness becomes.
As someone gets sober, they stop drinking. As a former alcoholic stops drinking altogether, they begin the recovery stage of alcohol addiction. The disease of alcoholism goes into remission. As long as the alcoholic does not take up drinking again, the chances of dying from the disease of alcoholism remain very small. However, an individual’s wellness is immediately affected when they begin drinking again. Alcoholism advances as though the alcoholic as if they never stopped drinking at all.
Alcoholism and death questions
Do you still have questions about alcohol and mortality? Please leave your questions here. We try our best to respond to all questions with a personal and prompt response.
Reference Sources: NIAAA: Medical consequences of alcohol abuse
Photo credit: Public Saftey Office of the State of Utah