The Risks Associated With Alcohol Use and Alcoholism

University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
Alcohol research & health: the journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (Impact Factor: 0.58). 01/2011; 34(2):135-43.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Alcohol consumption, particularly heavier drinking, is an important risk factor for many health problems and, thus, is a major contributor to the global burden of disease. In fact, alcohol is a necessary underlying cause for more than 30 conditions and a contributing factor to many more. The most common disease categories that are entirely or partly caused by alcohol consumption include infectious diseases, cancer, diabetes, neuropsychiatric diseases (including alcohol use disorders), cardiovascular disease, liver and pancreas disease, and unintentional and intentional injury. Knowledge of these disease risks has helped in the development of low-risk drinking guidelines. In addition to these disease risks that affect the drinker, alcohol consumption also can affect the health of others and cause social harm both to the drinker and to others, adding to the overall cost associated with alcohol consumption. These findings underscore the need to develop effective prevention efforts to reduce the pain and suffering, and the associated costs, resulting from excessive alcohol use.

68 Reads
  • Source
    • "These cardio-protective effects disappear when light to moderate drinking is mixed with irregular heavy drinking occasions [44] [49]. These epidemiological data are consistent with the findings of biological studies that -based on alcohol's effects on blood lipids and blood clotting -also predict beneficial effects of regular light to moderate drinking but detrimental effects of irregular heavy drinking [43] [44]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction. Alcohol dependence (AD) is associated with an increase of physical comorbidity but the effects of these diseases on hospital-based mortality are unclear. Objectives and aims. To investigate whether the burden of physical comorbidity and its relevance on general hospital-based mortality differs between individuals with and without alcohol-dependence (AD) during a 12.5 year observation period in general hospital admissions. Methods. All comorbidities with a prevalence ≥ 1% were compared between 23,371 individuals with AD and those of 233,710 randomly selected and group-matched hospital controls of the same age and gender. Comorbidities that were risk factors for later hospital-based mortality were identified using multivariate forward logistic regression analysis. Results. Hospital-based mortality rates were 20.4 % in individuals with AD and 8.4% in controls. Individuals with AD compared to controls had a substantial excess comorbidity of physical diseases. In the AD sample 32 physical diseases contributed to the prediction of hospital-based mortality in univariate analyses and 23 physical diseases were risk factors for hospital-based mortality in multivariate analyses. All mortality risk factors had either an equal or a lower impact on hospital-based mortality in individuals with AD compared to controls. Conclusions. Physical multimorbidity is the major reason for the excess general hospital-based mortality in individuals with AD compared to controls.
    European Psychiatry 06/2015; DOI:10.1016/S0924-9338(15)30830-0 · 3.44 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Alcohol impacts significantly upon individuals, families and communities. In addition to the well-documented health harms (Lim et al., 2012), heavy drinkers may experience social harms such as family disruption, interpersonal violence (Anderson et al., 2009), involvement in crime, problems within the workplace and financial problems (Rehm, 2011). Moreover, it is estimated that 30 per cent of children aged under sixteen years in the UK (3.3 – 3.5 million) live with at least one parent with an AUD (Manning et al., 2009). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Screening and brief interventions (BI) have been shown to be effective in the management of alcohol consumption for non-treatment-seeking heavy drinkers, who are at physical and social risk, but not yet dependent. The robust evidence base for the effectiveness of BI in primary health care suggests an implementation in other settings could be beneficial. Given the association between alcohol and social problems, social work has a long history of working with persons with alcohol-use disorders, and social workers are often the first service provider to come into contact with heavy-drinking individuals. This critical commentary summarises the existing literature on BI effectiveness in social services and criminal justice settings, and discusses to which extent the social work field might be a promising area for BI delivery.
    British Journal of Social Work 09/2014; 45(3). DOI:10.1093/bjsw/bcu100 · 1.19 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Heavy or risky alcohol use is a threat to public health as it is causally linked to a wide range of harms and diseases [1]. Screening and performing a brief intervention is an evidence-based and cost-effective strategy for the early management of alcohol-use disorder [2-7]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Telephone helplines are easily available and can offer anonymity. Alcohol helplines may be a potential gateway to a more advanced support protocol, and they may function as a primary support option for some. However, although telephone helplines (quitlines) make up an established evidence-based support arena for smoking cessation, few studies have described such telephone-based alcohol counseling. Methods This study describes the basic characteristics of callers (n = 480) to the Swedish Alcohol Helpline during its first year of operation, and assesses aspects of change in alcohol behavior in a selected cohort of clients (n = 40) willing to abstain from anonymity and enter a proactive support protocol. Results During the study period, 50% of callers called for consultation regarding their own alcohol use (clients), a third called about relatives with alcohol problems, and the others called for information. The clients’ average age was 49 years, and half were females. The clients’ average AUDIT score at baseline was 21 (std. dev. =7.2). Approximately a quarter had scores indicating hazardous alcohol use at baseline, while the others had higher scores. In a follow-up pilot study, the average AUDIT score had decreased from 21 to 14. While clients reporting more severe alcohol use showed a significant decrease at follow-up, hazardous users exhibited no change during the study period. Conclusion The study indicates that telephone helplines addressing the general public can be a primary-care option to reduce risky alcohol use. A randomized controlled study is needed to control for the effect of spontaneous recovery.
    Substance Abuse Treatment Prevention and Policy 07/2014; 9(1):28. DOI:10.1186/1747-597X-9-28 · 1.16 Impact Factor
Show more


68 Reads
Available from