by Carla Murez
Health Day Reporter
MONDAY, Dec. 12, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Before you drink too much to celebrate the holidays, here’s a sobering thought.
According to published in Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research. The same is true for people with alcohol use disorder.
“Injury is one of the most immediate harms of problematic drinking behavior,” said lead researcher Sidra Goldman-Mellor, assistant professor of public health at UC Merced.
“In addition to injuries such as car accidents and falls, some may also be injured in fights or even self-harm after drinking,” she said in a journal news release.
“However, we actually know very little about what happens to people with alcohol use disorder after a serious injury,” Goldman-Mellor said. “So, we wanted to investigate the most important outcome: How likely are they to die? “
For the study, she and her colleagues looked at 10 million emergency room visits between 2009 and 2012 among California residents age 10 and older.
Of these, more than 262,000 had initial injuries that were not fatal, were either diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder, or were intoxicated at the time.
In total, nearly 77 percent of injuries were recorded as unintentional. Another 13.2% were due to assault; 7.9% self-harm, and 2.1% with unknown intent.
More than 13,000 of these patients, or 5 percent of this group, died within 12 months of presentation. The death rate was close to 5,205 per 100,000.
That’s more than five times the size of the rest of California’s population, matched by age, gender, race and ethnicity.
“Injuries related to alcohol use disorder are a public health problem in their own right, but we now know they are also associated with a substantially increased risk of death,” Goldman-Mellor said. “Most people who struggle with alcoholism aren’t getting the help they need.”
She noted that problematic drinking has increased over the past few years, especially during the pandemic.
The researchers suspect that many patients were already very ill on their first visit to the hospital and their health declined thereafter.
Emergency rooms are where people with alcohol problems may get extra help, Goldman-Mellor said. Some hospitals may be able to connect patients with resources, such as outpatient programs that combine substance use treatment with care for other chronic health conditions.
“Hopefully studies like ours can be used to increase resources to get all these patients access to comprehensive care, including medication use and general health,” she said.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more information on alcohol use disorders.
resource: Journal of Alcohol and Drug ResearchPress Release, December 12, 2022