Death by the Glass

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released a report regarding deaths from alcohol poisoning. In this report it was estimated that 6 Americans die every die from alcohol poisoning with the highest mortality rate among middle age men. This runs contrary to the belief that alcohol poisoning deaths occurred more frequently among college age males. The CDC report indicated that 2221 people died from alcohol poisoning between 2010 and 2012. 3/4 of the deaths involved 35-64 year olds and 3/4 of the deaths were men. The highest mortality rate was seen in males 45-54.

Excessive alcohol consumption shuts down parts of the brain which control breathing, body temperature and heart rate. 38 million American adults report binge drinking four times a month with 90% not being considered alcoholic and only 1/3 of the deaths attributed to people with alcohol dependence. The highest rate of binge drinking was observed in Native Americans and Native Alaskans, but 67% of the deaths involved non-Hispanic, white males.

So, what does the CDC Report on Alcohol Poisoning tell us? This problem is far greater than we think and involves people who we do not consider to be alcoholics or problem drinkers. Are the people who die from alcohol poisoning “recreational drinkers” who lose control on a binge night or are they in the group of people who seek to self-medicate their mental health problems with alcohol?

The real issue is the risk of binge drinking and the reality of who are the victims. For those who need treatment for mental health and or substance abuse problems this should be a wake-up call. For the family members of binge drinkers, pay attention to this study and urge your loved one to get help.

Click here to read about the study in the New York Times.

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