Alcohol-Related Deaths Per Year
For many people, alcohol is just another beverage. Unfortunately, the very fact that it’s widely consumed contributes to the widespread fallacy that says alcohol use disorder happens only to the obviously down and out. However, alcohol statistics show a high rate of alcohol-related deaths per year. If “anyone can see I’m doing fine” is your automatic response to increasingly frequent hints that you’re overdoing it, chances are that you in fact have a problem—and are literally risking your life if you allow it to continue.
In the United States alone, over 14.5 million people (including over 400,000 people under 18, some as young as 12) have diagnosable alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism. And at least 95,000 fatalities a year are alcohol-related.
Deaths from Alcohol-Influenced Traffic Accidents
Everyone knows about drunk driving accidents: alcohol is an influencing factor in 28 percent of traffic-related deaths in the United States, with an average of 29 fatalities every day. Impaired judgment and slowed reactions contribute to crashes that typically involve more victims than the party under the influence: 1 in 50 of those killed are under age 15.
Nor does a lethal traffic accident require anyone’s being too intoxicated to steer a straight line. Even one or two drinks can affect judgment sufficiently to turn an ordinary driver into a moving road hazard, particularly if visibility is poor or traffic heavy and fast.
Deaths from Other Alcohol-Influenced Accidents
It’s not just cars that become lethal weapons when handled under the influence of alcohol. Any heavy machinery, including forklifts and other standard work equipment, can be dangerous. So can a drinker’s own legs once coordination becomes impaired: alcohol is a factor in thousands of fatal falls every year.
Deaths from Alcohol-Influenced Violence
Poor judgment due to intoxication also means that someone within reach of a gun is more likely to use it, whether actually aiming at anyone or “shooting off” a burst of celebratory exuberance. (A bullet fired into the air, once it heads back down, is as dangerous as one fired horizontally.) Alcohol drinking also frequently co-occurs with domestic violence, which claims over a thousand lives in the United States each year.
Deaths from Alcohol Poisoning
Drinking too much alcohol too fast can also kill directly: an average of six people a day binge to the point that their blood alcohol levels outstrip their bodies’ ability to metabolize, resulting in death from extreme impairment of body functions. (A person who is intoxicated to the point of incoherence or unconsciousness—especially if pulse or breathing is erratic, or skin turns blue and clammy—may be experiencing alcohol poisoning and needs medical help immediately.)
Deaths from Long-Term Effects on Health
If someone drinks heavily and escapes all the above dangers, there’s still a high risk that accumulated physical damage from alcohol intake will lead to potentially fatal health conditions: heart disease, liver disease, cancer, stroke.
Deaths from Alcohol Withdrawal
Finally, physical dependence on alcohol can kill indirectly if someone abruptly stops drinking and experiences severe withdrawal symptoms, which can include hallucinations, heavy perspiration, soaring blood pressure, and seizures. For this reason, although quitting alcohol permanently is the best life insurance for anyone suffering from addiction, the initial detox should always be undertaken in a reputable facility under licensed medical supervision.
Qualified professional detox has another advantage: it includes follow-up therapy to help patients plan fulfilling lives in sobriety. Many people, well aware that their drinking has become life-threatening, still resist giving it up because they can no longer imagine life without it.
True addiction means that alcohol has become so much the center of life that removing it will leave a vacuum. That vacuum has to be filled with better things—purposeful goals, satisfying work, healthy human relationships—to block old habits from rushing back in. Only then can life be truly worthwhile. As a bonus, it will also be longer and healthier.
Save Lives: Get Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
If you have an addiction to alcohol, the life you save by cutting out drinking may be your own. “Just stopping,” however, is extremely difficult—and life-threatening in itself if withdrawal symptoms are severe. Beach House provides the medically supervised treatment you need for safe and comfortable alcohol detox, plus follow-up counseling to plan a future worth living for. Every care plan is customized to the patient’s individual needs. Contact us today to learn more!
- “Alcohol Poisoning Deaths: A deadly consequence of binge drinking.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- “Alcohol Use and Your Health.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- “Alcohol Use in the United States.” (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism)
- “Do I Have an Alcohol Problem?” (WebMD.com)
- “Do not fire guns into the air during New Year’s celebration, Orange County sheriff warns.” (Eyewitness News, ABC11.com, 12/31/2020)
- “Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence Facts.” (Emory University School of Medicine)
- “Drunken falls cause more deaths than drunken driving in Wisconsin.” (The Capital Times, 05/10/2015)
- “Get Involved in Alcohol Awareness Month.” (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America)
- “How Alcohol Impairs Your Ability to Drive.” (Michigan Medicine/University of Michigan)
- “Impaired Driving: Get the Facts.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- “Quitting alcohol can be deadly: Hundreds in the US die each year.” (USA Today, 11/27/2018)