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Institute of Alcohol Studies. (2017) Health impacts of alcohol. London: Institute of Alcohol Studies.

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According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the harmful use of alcohol results in 3.3 million deaths every year, representing 5.9% of all deaths, and it is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions. Overall 5.1% of the global burden of disease and injury is attributable to alcohol, as measured in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). Alcohol consumption causes death and disability relatively early in life. In the age group 20 – 39 years approximately 25% of the total deaths are alcohol-attributable. There are gender differences in alcohol-related mortality, morbidity, as well as levels and patterns of alcohol consumption. The percentage of alcohol-attributable deaths among men amount to 7.6% of all global deaths compared to 4.0 % of all deaths among women.

There is a causal relationship between harmful use of alcohol and a range of mental and behavioural disorders, other noncommunicable conditions such as cancer and heart disease, as well as injuries. There is also evidence to indicate causal relationships between harmful drinking and the incidence of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis as well as the course of HIV/AIDS. The impact of alcohol consumption on chronic and acute health outcomes in populations is largely determined by two separate but related dimensions of drinking: 1) the total volume of alcohol consumed; and 2) the pattern of drinking. There is evidence that a nation's alcohol consumption directly impacts on the health of its citizens; for example, the European Comparative Alcohol Study has found that for all European Union (EU) countries, any rise or fall in alcohol consumption runs parallel to the harm caused by it.

A variety of factors have been identified at the individual and the societal level, which affect the levels and patterns of alcohol consumption and the magnitude of alcohol-related problems in populations. Environmental factors include the affordability, availability and promotion of alcohol, economic development, culture and the comprehensiveness and levels of implementation and enforcement of alcohol policies.

This factsheet provides an overview of how alcohol effects individuals’ health and also the population levels of alcohol related morbidity and mortality in the UK.
• Physical and mental health effects
• Accidents and injuries
• How alcohol mortality rates are calculated in the UK
• Alcohol-related mortality rates
• Alcohol-related morbidity rates


Item Type:FactSheet
Date:August 2017
Publisher:Institute of Alcohol Studies
Corporate Creators:Institute of Alcohol Studies
Place of Publication:London
EndNote:View
Subjects:A Substance use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence > Substance use behaviour > Alcohol consumption
A Substance use, abuse, and dependence > Effects and consequences
B Substances > Alcohol
G Health and disease > State of health > Physical health
G Health and disease > State of health > Mental health
G Health and disease > Public health
G Health and disease > Substance use disorder > Alcohol use > Alcohol dependence
P Demography, epidemiology, and history > Population dynamics > Substance related mortality / death
VA Geographic area > Europe > United Kingdom

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