- Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that alcohol-related deaths in the UK have increased by 18.6% to 8,974
- Rates were stable since 2012 and fell over the past two years, but the death toll increased by 1,409 in 2020
- The figures include deaths that were a direct result of alcohol abuse, such as alcoholic liver disease.
- The ONS said several factors contributed to the increase, but noted people drank more alcohol during the pandemic.
- Compared to previous years, mortality rates were highest in males and Scotland and Northern Ireland
- A narcissist says ‘shocking rise’ hasn’t been helped by the Covid pandemic
Alcohol-related deaths in the UK have risen to their highest level in nearly two decades, with official figures showing experts warn the COVID lockdown has fueled dangerous drinking habits.
Data from the Office for National Statistics shows alcohol-related deaths across the UK rose by a fifth in a year to nearly 9,000, the highest annual increase since records began in 2001.
Alcohol deaths have been on the rise for a decade, but the death toll increased by more than 1,400 in 2020, the equivalent of 14 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 in the UK.
Most of the deaths were related to long-term drinking problems and dependence – alcoholic liver disease accounts for 80 percent of cases.
ONS statisticians said ‘several complicating factors’ contributed to the increase last year, but noted that people who drank more alcohol during the pandemic may have been a factor.
Ian Hamilton, an addiction specialist at the University of York, told MailOnline that people who were already drinking ‘risky’ amounts consumed even more during the pandemic.
Boredom, more time to drink and worry fueled worrying trends in alcohol consumption during the lockdown, a survey by the charity Drinkware found.
Charities described today’s figures as ‘disastrous’. Mr Hamilton said the lack of face-to-face support for heavy drinkers contributed to a ‘shocking’ increase in deaths.
This comes after a report by the now defunct Public Health England (PHE) found that Covid caused the biggest drop in life expectancy seen in 40 years. It warned that there had been an ‘unprecedented’ increase in alcohol use deaths, up 20 percent last year compared to 2019.
ONS data shows that the majority of deaths (77.8 percent) were due to alcoholic liver disease (green), which occurs when prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption over many years causes severe and permanent damage to the liver. Mental and behavioral disorders were the second leading cause of death (light blue) due to alcohol use, accounting for 1,083 deaths and 12 percent of deaths. Some 552 deaths were due to accidental or intentional alcohol poisoning (dark blue, marked with external causes). Men in their 50s and 60s were behind almost a third of the deaths, while 20 percent were recorded among women aged 45 to 65.
ONS figures show that death rates in Scotland and Northern Ireland were almost a third higher than the UK average in 2020, with 21.5 and 19.6 deaths per 100,000 respectively. The rates of alcohol-specific deaths remained low in England and Wales, with 13 and 13.9 deaths per 100,000 people, respectively. However, the biggest year-on-year increase was seen in England, where deaths increased by 19.3 percent, and Wales, where the figure rose by 17.8 percent
ONS data shows that six out of nine regions in England have recorded an increase in alcohol deaths, with the West Midlands having the biggest increase (33.1 per cent), followed by the South West (32.2 per cent) and London. (25.3 percent). , There has also been an increase in alcohol-related deaths in the North East (20.5 percent), North West (19.4 percent) and South East (18.5 percent). Within England, there was huge regional disparity in the North East, with 9.2 deaths per 100,000 due to alcoholism, compared to 20 per 100,000 in the North East – the highest rate among all regions of England.
What is Alcoholic Liver Disease?
Alcoholic liver disease was behind 6,985 deaths in the UK in 2020, accounting for around eight in 10 of all alcohol-related deaths.
This condition refers to liver damage caused by excessive and prolonged consumption of alcohol.
The liver is responsible for filtering toxins from the blood, aiding in digestion, controlling blood sugar, and fighting infection and disease.
Every time the liver filters out alcohol, some of its cells die. These usually grow back, but drinking too much over many years can reduce its ability to reproduce.
This can cause serious and permanent damage to your liver.
Alcoholic liver disease usually does not cause any symptoms until the liver is severely damaged. At this stage, symptoms may include feeling sick, weight loss, loss of appetite, yellowing of the skin, swollen ankles and stomach, and confusion or drowsiness.
There is currently no medical treatment for this condition, patients are advised to stop drinking alcohol for life to reduce the risk of further damage and to give the liver the best chance of recovery .
Liver transplantation may be required in some cases.
8,974 deaths related to alcohol-specific causes are equivalent to 14 deaths per 100,000 people.
For comparison, there were 7,565 deaths in 2019, which equates to 11.8 deaths per 100,000 in the UK.
The majority of deaths (6,985, 77.8 percent) were due to alcoholic liver disease, which occurs when there is severe and permanent damage to the liver from prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption over many years.
Mental and behavioral disorders were the second leading cause of death due to alcohol use, accounting for 1,083 deaths and 12 percent of deaths.
Some 552 deaths were from accidental or intentional alcohol poisoning. Separate PHE data show that there has been an increase in the rate of alcohol poisoning hospitalizations in the summer after COVID restrictions were lifted.
Other major causes include alcoholic cardiomyopathy (158…