A new study shows that alcoholics die about 7.6 years earlier on average than hospital patients without a history of alcohol addiction.
Published in the journal European Psychiatry, the study highlights how alcoholism affects both mental and physical health and calls for early treatment for addiction. As Dieter Schoepf from the University of Bonn Hospital in Germany explains, “This could be because of the interaction of several concomitant physical illnesses.”
For the study, Schoepf and professor Reinhard Heun from the Royal Derby Hospital in England evaluated patient data extending over a 12.5-year period from seven general hospitals in Manchester and observed 23,371 hospital patients with alcohol dependence and compared them with those of a control group of 233,710 randomly selected patients without alcoholism.
Heun pointed out that approximately one out of five hospital patients with alcoholism died in one of the hospitals, while only one out of twelve patients in the control group died, during the observation period. However he noted that through diligent screening and early treatment of concomitant mental and physical illnesses, it should be possible to significantly increase the life expectancy of alcoholic patients.