It’s not as if most people these days are actually under the impression that alcohol is good for you. But at the same time, evidence suggests that not nearly enough UK adults are fully aware of exactly how dangerous and harmful alcohol can be. More often than not, unless an individual is actively seeking residential rehab centres for alcoholics, they fall into the assumption that they themselves do not have a problem. Their drinking habits do not necessarily have a significantly detrimental impact on their lives, so they assume that what they are doing isn’t really having much of an effect on them.
In reality however, the truth is quite to the contrary. One of the biggest problems with alcohol is the way in which it builds an accumulative effect on mental and physical health alike, which is largely undetectable until it becomes dangerously advanced. Or in other words, you don’t know you have a problem until it is possibly too late to do anything about it. Which is precisely why it is of the utmost importance to occasionally revisit a few insightful facts and statistics – not to scare, but simply to educate and inform.
There’s nothing to say that alcohol cannot be enjoyed sensibly and in moderation, without it having to pose a serious risk to health and wellbeing. Nevertheless, to throw caution to the wind is to open the door to an extraordinary variety of potential illnesses and issues – all of which could have been easily avoided.
Here’s a brief rundown of just a few key facts and figures, just to begin illustrating the point:
1 – First of all, it’s common knowledge that excessive alcohol consumption can make a person ill, but few realise that alcohol has the very real potential to contribute to more than 60 medical conditions. From cirrhosis of the liver to high blood pressure to various types of cancer to depression and so many more besides, excessive and prolonged alcohol consumption can take its toll on the body and mind in ways that are terrifying to say the least. And again, it’s often not until a problem becomes somewhat advanced that it is detected.
2 – Hospital admissions directly as a result of alcohol consumption have been accelerating wildly for quite some time. Once again, a new all-time record was set in 2013, when a staggering 1,008,850 hospital admissions where recorded due to alcohol consumption. Thousands of hospital admissions in each and every month are attributed to accidents, injuries and illnesses directly resulting from alcohol misuse and abuse.
3 – The number of alcohol-related deaths recorded annually in the United Kingdom is likewise accelerating each and every year at a genuinely terrifying pace. According to official statistics, well over 8,300 people lost their lives as a direct result of alcohol consumption or abuse in 2013. The government is working frantically to bring the problem under control, though the comprehensive affordability and accessibility of alcohol is making it an extremely challenging issue to tackle.
4 – Statistically speaking, men are considerably more likely to lose their lives as a result of alcohol consumption than women. In fact, research has shown that approximately two-thirds (65%) of annual alcohol fatalities in the United Kingdom are men.
5 – The bill the taxpayer foots as a result of alcohol abuse in the United Kingdom is growing every year at an increasing pace. On an annual basis, alcohol is estimated to cost the NHS no less than £3.6 billion, which is the equivalent of every single taxpayer handing over £120 of their own money. Billions are also lost due to loss of productivity.
6 – While the healthcare system in the United Kingdom is one of the most advanced in the world, our country is one of the only nations in Europe in which liver disease rates are steadily increasing by the year. In Wales and England, 63% of deaths attributed to alcohol in 2013 resulted from alcoholic liver disease.
7 – Socio-economic class is known to be an extremely influential factor when it comes to alcohol abuse and mortality rates attributed to alcohol consumption. Research has shown that women in the most disadvantaged class are almost six times likelier to lose their lives to alcohol, while men are approximately 3.5 times more likely to die as a result of alcohol abuse.
8 – Fatal cases of alcoholic liver disease in the United Kingdom have increased by worrying 20% in less than 10 years, despite incredible advances being made in both prevention and treatment techniques.