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How Alcohol Addiction Impacts Life Expectancy

an empty wine bottle on a bar while someone explains the life expectancy for alcoholics

While in the United States, alcohol may be legal for people of a certain age, Woodland Recovery Center knows that it doesn’t make this substance entirely safe. Most individuals are well aware of the immediate repercussions that arise from excessive alcohol consumption, including hangovers, accidents caused by drunk driving, injuries resulting from intoxication, blackouts, and alcohol poisoning.

At Woodland Recovery Center, we offer alcohol addiction treatment to those who experience alcohol misuse and addiction. Our treatment center treats patients who are with this addiction and equips them with the tools they need to gain control over their lives. Please call us today at 662.222.2989 to learn more about the benefits of alcohol addiction treatment.

What Is the Life Expectancy of a Heavy Drinker?

Excessive consumption of alcohol can have detrimental effects on a person’s physical well-being, particularly when it is misused over a prolonged period. This substance has the potential to cause significant harm to one’s health. The result may be a series of ailments and illnesses that can significantly shorten an alcoholic’s life.

The exact figures on the life expectancy for alcoholics vary and are hard to determine. This is because some alcoholics may have concurrent medical conditions or live in environments that are not conducive to their well-being. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a variety of health problems, including liver disease, heart failure, and cancer.

Factors That Decrease an Alcoholics’ Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for alcoholics tends to be shorter than that of the general public because heavy drinking on a regular and long-term basis can increase the risk of developing several life-threatening diseases and conditions. The potential issues and medical conditions that can impact the life expectancy of alcoholics include:

  • Fatal accidents
  • Cardiovascular problems like strokes
  • Liver disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer
  • Suicide
  • Compromised immune system
  • Advanced aging
  • Malnutrition

It’s essential to note that these factors do not necessarily mean a person with an alcohol addiction will experience all of them, as each person’s body reacts differently to alcohol consumption. However, the risk is significantly higher in individuals with long-term and heavy alcohol use.

Fatal Accidents from Alcohol

Fatal accidents from drinking may be a result of drunk driving, overdose, or injuries while impaired, like serious falls. While these deadly accidents can occur after just one episode of heavy drinking, people with alcohol use disorders are more likely to put themselves in these dangerous situations more often because of their regular drinking.

Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health

Long-term and heavy alcohol use can lead to a variety of cardiovascular diseases and issues that may be fatal. In particular, heavy drinking has been associated with:

  • Hypertension
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Strokes

Some research even suggests that people who have two or more drinks a day are 35% more at risk of having a stroke than someone who has less than half a drink a day.

Alcohol-Associated Liver Disease

A common reason for health problems and deaths from alcohol addiction is liver disease. The liver is responsible for filtering the toxins from substances such as alcohol out of a person’s body. When someone drinks excessively, their liver may struggle to keep up with the high levels of toxins, leading to damage and possibly permanent scarring. This damage can eventually result in fatal conditions like cirrhosis and liver failure.

Alcohol and Cancer

The life expectancy for alcoholics may also be shortened by a variety of cancers as well. Cancer can develop because of damage to cells and tissues in the body from prolonged alcohol use. The areas most likely impacted include the mouth, throat, liver, colon, and esophagus.

Suicide Risk

Alcohol addiction has also been associated with an increased risk of suicide. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to a higher risk of depression and other mood changes that are linked to suicidal behavior.

Alcohol and the Immune System

Long-term alcohol misuse can also decrease life expectancy due to a weakened immune system. Too much alcohol can make it harder for the immune system to fight infections and disease. For example, chronic drinkers are at a greater risk of contracting lung diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than moderate drinkers or people who don’t drink at all.

Alcohol’s Effects on Aging

Alcohol can indirectly affect the mortality rate by impacting the process of aging. Health conditions can worsen with alcohol misuse, and some medical conditions may be more challenging to treat after years of heavy drinking. Some alcohol concerns may even get overlooked and be mistakenly associated with old age. Although you may not be experiencing any severe health effects from drinking, seeking alcohol addiction treatment could still extend your life.

The Effects of Moderate Drinking on Life Expectancy

Moderate drinking, typically defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men, appears to have a less severe impact on life expectancy compared to heavy alcohol use. However, it’s crucial to understand that even moderate drinking has risks.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and the effects of alcohol can vary widely between individuals due to factors such as genetics, overall health status, and lifestyle. Therefore, while moderate drinking may not lead to the drastic decrease in life expectancy seen with heavy drinking, it does not guarantee a risk-free relationship with alcohol. Choosing to consume alcohol responsibly and seeking medical advice when necessary can help maintain a healthier, longer life.

How Can Alcohol Addiction Treatment Improve Life Expectancy?

The road to recovery through alcohol addiction treatment can significantly improve life expectancy for individuals struggling with alcoholism. People seeking treatment often experience improved physical health, emotional wellness, and relationships, collectively contributing to a healthier, longer life.

Here are a few ways alcohol addiction treatment can extend life expectancy:

  • Improved physical health
  • Emotional and psychological healing
  • Support network
  • Healthy coping mechanisms
  • Prevention of relapse

Seeking help for alcohol addiction can be the first step toward a longer, healthier life.

Call Woodland Recovery Center to Start Your Alcohol Addiction Recovery Journey

At Woodland Recovery Center, we recognize the immense challenge of conquering alcohol addiction, and we firmly believe that no one should face it alone. Our comprehensive alcohol detox program ensures a safe and gradual withdrawal from alcohol, while our array of addiction treatment programs empowers you to build the skills and resilience needed to maintain long-term sobriety. Call us today at 662.222.2989 or contact us online to get started on alcohol addiction treatment or get more information for a loved one.