Although a beer, a glass of wine, or a cocktail might feel like a common thing, he new study suggests that it is important to be aware of alcohol consumption.
According to a study published in JAMA Network Open Tuesday, 1 in 5 deaths among people aged 20-49 could be attributed to excessive alcohol consumption in the United States. The study found that drinking-related deaths were 1 in 8 for people aged 20 to 64.
While the percentage of alcohol-related deaths varied from one state to another, it is a major cause of preventable death nationally, according to Dr. Marissa Esser (who heads the Alcohol Program at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
The researchers analyzed national and state death data from 2015 to 2019, and determined whether excessive drinking was partially or fully responsible for the deaths. Esser stated that these causes of death were vehicle accidents, alcohol poisoning, and other health effects such as liver disease.
Esser said that alcohol has been a major cause of death in the last decade.
David Jernigan from Boston University, a professor in health law, policy, and management, said, “I’m certainly not surprised by the numbers.” “This is a conservative estimate.”
Jernigan wasn’t involved in the study.
Esser stated that there were many deaths that alcohol contributed to, but the study’s authors could not include them in their estimates. While alcohol may have been a factor in some conditions, researchers weren’t able to confirm the exact role of drinking. Esser said that they could not determine in some cases if someone who died from an illness had been drinking excessively, but stopped.
Jernigan stated that people often underestimate how much alcohol they drink.
He said, “It doesn’t get any attention that it should.” “Researchers continue to find that excessive alcohol consumption is a major problem in the United States. That is the bottom line.”
How to tell when it’s getting too much
Jernigan stated that the goal of state and local government agencies is to encourage people to drink less for safety and health.
Esser stated that “States can prevent premature deaths by using evidence-based strategies to decrease the availability and accessibility and increase the price of alcohol.”
Esser said that this could mean raising taxes or restricting where alcohol can be sold.
Esser suggested that individuals could stop drinking alcohol or limit it.
According to the CDC, moderate drinking is defined as having two or fewer drinks per day for men and one or fewer drinks for women. The organization stated that two-thirds (33%) of adults drink more than moderate quantities at least once per month.
According to the CDC, 1 in 6 adults binge drink — that is, consume four or more drinks per occasion for a female or five for a male — with a quarter doing it at least weekly.
Reduced drinking can have the same effect as dieting. The more you tell yourself that you can’t have it the more you want it. Natalie Mokari is a registered dietitian nutritionist from Charlotte, North Carolina.
She suggests that you have one less drink than usual on every occasion, or that you break a bad habit by drinking only on certain days. She also suggested that you can have sparkling water between drinks, or make weaker cocktails to cut down on alcohol intake.
Remember that if you have to overcome social pressure to drink, people might make you feel bad about your drinking habits, according to Annie Grace, author of “This Naked Mind” (previous article).
According to Aaron White, a senior scientific advisor to the director at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse, it is often a good idea to have a nonalcoholic beverage in your hand when you go to social events so that the offer to drink doesn’t come up.
Harvard Medical School recommends that you reduce your alcohol intake by drinking less, eating before and after drinking, and planning alcohol-free days.
The CDC website has a tool that can be used to help people evaluate their drinking habits and create a plan for healthier alcohol choices.
For immediate assistance, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a confidential, free and anonymous National Helpline that is available 24/7/365. This number can be contacted at 800-662-HELP (4357) or 800-487-4889 (TTY) for information and referrals to local treatment facilities and support groups.