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Risks of premature death increase after serious alcohol-related injury

Risks of premature death increase after serious alcohol-related injury

By Cara Murez

health day reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 12, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Before you toast the holiday season with too much booze, here’s a sobering thought.

According to a new study published in Journal of Alcohol and Drug Studies. The same is true for people with alcohol use disorders.

“Injury is one of the most immediate risks of problematic drinking behavior,” said lead researcher Sidra Goldman-Mellor, assistant professor of public health at the University of California, Merced.

“In addition to being injured by things like car crashes and falls, some people can be injured in fights or even self-harm after drinking,” she said in a press release.

“However, we know very little about what happens to people with alcohol use disorder after sustaining a serious injury,” Goldman-Mellor said. “So we wanted to investigate the most important outcome of all: how likely were they to die?”

For the study, she and her colleagues looked at 10 million emergency room visits between 2009 and 2012 by California residents aged 10 and older.

Of these, more than 262,000 suffered an injury that was not initially life-threatening and either had an alcohol use disorder diagnosis or were intoxicated at the time.

In total, nearly 77% of the injuries were unintentional, records show. Another 13.2% were due to assaults; 7.9% to self-harm and 2.1% with undetermined intent.

More than 13,000 of these patients died within 12 months of their hospital visit, or 5% of the group. The death rate was nearly 5,205 per 100,000.

That was more than five times the rate for the rest of the California population, matched for age, sex, race and ethnicity.

“Injuries associated with alcohol use disorders are a public health issue in their own right, but we now know they are also associated with a significantly increased risk of death,” Goldman-Mellor said. “Most people who struggle with alcohol abuse don’t get the help they need.”

Problematic alcohol use has increased in recent years, especially during the pandemic, she noted.

Researchers suspect that many patients were already very ill when they first visited the hospital and their health declined thereafter.

Emergency departments are one place people with alcohol problems might get additional help, Goldman-Mellor said. Some hospitals may be able to connect patients with resources such as outpatient programs that integrate addiction treatment with care for their other chronic conditions.

“Hopefully, studies like ours can be used to increase resources to connect all of these patients to comprehensive care, both for their substance use and their overall health,” she said. declared.

More information

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more information on alcohol use disorders.

THE SOURCE: Journal of Alcohol and Drug Studiespress release, December 12, 2022

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