Over half a million people have been taken to hospital over the last three years for alcohol and drug related health problems. The majority of cases have been due to alcohol abuse related conditions such as liver disease. According to recent figures, this is costing the NHS a staggering £607 million a year.
More than 20% of the total admissions recorded over the last three years were people in their 40s. The findings were published by Dr Foster (health care data specialists), leading to warnings that drinkers in their 40s could be at risk of developing serious health complications, including cancer.
Of the drinkers in their 40s admitted to hospital during 2012-2013, nearly 20% were considered by the NHS as an ’emergency admission due to known drug/alcohol issue’.
The figures also revealed that the median age of those admitted to hospital for substance abuse is rising; in 2002/2003 the median age was 41, now it is 43. One-off admissions for binge drinkers were, perhaps unsurprisingly, mostly seen by those in their late teens and early 20s, but these numbers have dropped over the last decade.
Director of Research at Dr Foster, Roger Taylor, said the following:
“The findings show that attitudes and behaviour among the young with regards to drugs and alcohol are improving but the same cannot be said about their parents. However, and worryingly, we expect the figures we have shown here to underestimate slightly the actual amount of patients admitted to hospitals with such problems.”
The problem has been seen to affect poorer groups, with 36% of patients coming from the most deprived areas in the country, compared to 8.6% of patients coming from the wealthiest areas in the country.
No matter how old you are, it is never too late to get help and quit drinking. Speaking to your doctor will give you a better idea of what your body and mind need to quit. Many people with an addiction find it helpful to seek cognitive behavioural therapy. To find out more about counselling for alcohol related issues, please see our alcoholism page.