Can Alcohol Kill You?—Let’s Count the Ways
According to the World Health organization, alcohol kills more than 3 million people worldwide each year, which translates to one person every 10 seconds. That’s more than the amount of people lost to AIDS, tuberculosis, and violence. The statistic includes alcohol-related driving fatalities, violence, and health issues arising from excessive alcohol consumption.
Because alcohol is legal in most countries, and because—especially in the US and western culture in general—it is promoted in advertising and glamorized in film, its dangers are often minimized or disregarded by young people, and the warnings about problem-drinking and its consequences are viewed as the admonitions of uptight grownups. Unfortunately, the facts support the admonitions.
So, how can alcohol kill you? Here are a few ways it can—and does—end lives:
- Drunk driving accounted for ten thousand deaths in 2010—that was over thirty percent of all traffic fatalities.
- Acute alcohol poisoning kills over one thousand people each year.
- Nearly sixteen thousand people died in 2010 from alcohol-induced liver disease.
- Over fifty percent of people who die in fires have high blood-alcohol levels.
- One quarter of all emergency room admissions, one-third of all suicides and more than half of all homicides and incidents of domestic violence are alcohol related.
- Unintentional injuries related to alcohol consumption cause over eighteen hundred deaths each year among college students.
- Health problems, including increased likelihood of stroke, diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, esophageal cancer, and compromised immune system can lead, if untreated, to premature death.
- Alcohol in combination with other drugs, especially pain medications, tranquilizers, and sleep medications, can cause death by slowing down respiration as well as by causing the aspiration of vomit.
The simple fact is that alcohol impairs judgment, cognition, inhibitions regarding excessive risk-taking and acting out of aggressive tendencies, and other faculties that reduce the likelihood of accident or death. If alcohol consumption becomes regular, increases over time, or increases in amount, or if consequences of drinking are accumulating, treatment is indicated, because yes, alcohol can kill you.