What is the Average Lifespan of an Alcoholic?

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Abuse of alcohol consumption can result in the shortening of life or death. Alcoholic drinks have the capability of damaging a variety of body parts and triggers ageing.

Hence, alcohol negatively affects the behaviour and mind of those who drink it.

As a result, alcoholics' lifespan is eventually shorter than those who are not addicted to alcoholic drinks for many reasons.

Simply put, alcohol makes a person age harder and faster.

Furthermore, research proves that alcohol results in both exaggerated ageings, which means that the difficulties of adulthood are worse, and accelerated ageing, which means that problems of adulthood start sooner.

Such problems are:

  • Bone loss
  • Memory and brain problems
  • Disorders in the digestive system
  • Cancer
  • Heart disorders
  • High blood pressure

The American Heart Station advises individuals never to start drinking alcohol. Consumption of heavy drinking can harm the heart and can lead to untimely death.

Among the primary factors is high blood pressure. Simultaneously drinking no less than three alcoholic drinks can briefly raise the high blood pressure of an individual.

In addition, consumption of long-term alcohol can cause many lasting effects, which makes it harder for the circulatory system and heart to function.

Also, this can cause a heart attack or stroke even at a young age.

Alcoholic drinks contain a neurotoxin, which is the brain's poison.

In addition, researchers found out that alcohol affects the nervous system, which is called the HPA axis, which increases the stress hormone levels within a person's body.

Such hormones lead to a variety of frequent ageing difficulties. Most significantly, alcohol can harm the hippocampus, a brain part that serves a primary role in memory.

A European study shows that the lifespan of those suffering from abuse of alcohol disorder is almost 28 years less than normal.

Notably, individuals who were brought to the hospital for alcohol use had an extremely low lifespan.

The average lifespan of men is between 47 to 53 years old, while women have an average lifespan of 50 to 58.

In the research, alcohol use abuse augmented the death rate for several causes, such as suicide, medical conditions, and diseases.

Furthermore, the study proves that alcohol negatively affects lifespan because of its physical consequences and behavioural and mental effects.

Alcohol abuse is bad for everyone; it is inevitable.

The poisonous effects of alcohol abuse damage the mind and body.

In addition, alcohol abuse decreases both the quality of life and lifespan of an individual. Fortunately, while a lot of the effects are critical, a majority can be changed.

By inquiring how to treat alcoholism, people can take the initial step towards a beneficial way of life.

Way back several years ago, more than 37 million adults in the United States of America indulge in drinking weekly.  However, binge drinking is unlike an addiction.

A person can become a heavy alcohol drinker without being substance dependent. More than 15 million American citizens are likely to have AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder).

This pertains to uncontrolled and compulsive alcohol consumption despite adverse effects. When people with alcohol use disorder are not able to drink, they feel stressed or irritable.

Causes of Addiction to Alcohol

Addiction to alcohol use can develop throughout months or even years.

The likely succeeding factors that can lead to AUD are:

  • Drinking at an early age increases the possibility of dependence as a person grows old.
  • Trouble-free access to liquor stores and low taxes imposed for alcoholic drinks
  • Mental health, trauma, or stress concerns can lead to substance abuse
  • Living in a community wherein too much alcohol drinking is a standard can trigger addiction
  • Study shows that alcohol boosts the levels of dopamine to a larger degree among men compared to women. This explains the reason why alcohol use disorder is common in men
  • Genetic influences play an essential part in alcohol addiction

Why AUD is Regarded as a Disease?

An AUD is a progressive and chronic brain disease caused by too much drinking.

Alcohol abuse results in chemical transformations within the human brain which obstruct the reward system of a person.

Drinking increases dopamine levels – among the feel-good hormones in a person. This inspires an individual to drink once again.

However, continuous alcohol use leads the brain to attempt to rebuild balance. Hence, the brain of an individual starts to adapt, making them less dopamine sensitive.

Consequently, a person develops tolerance. However, to obtain similar rewarding sensitivity, a person has to drink more alcohol.

In addition, alcohol disturbs the brain part, which administrates comprehensive decision-making.

This makes it harder to resist alcohol drinking, which is why many people find themselves in alcohol use disorders' vicious cycle.

As the disorder becomes more serious, the lack of alcohol can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. Longings can be as commanding as the necessity for water and food.

At this instant, alcohol consumption is less about choice than about eluding discomfort.

The Effect of Alcohol on the Brain

Alcohol has other brain effects as well, as such alcoholism causes brain damage. Chronic alcohol consumption can get rid of the balance of glutamate and GABA, which are chemical messengers.

It slows down the system of the person, lowering the levels of energy and reserves with it. Alcohol affects coordination and clear thinking and makes a person seem to become drunk.

Moreover, chemical changes can make a person feel depressed.

Is Alcohol Addiction Genetic?

As previously discussed, hereditary factors can lead to alcohol use disorders. Gene variations can influence how a person breaks the alcohol down and on how sensitive a person is to the effects of alcohol.

For example, the internet clock DNAs may influence whether a person drinks in response to anxiety.

Many people release a lot of endorphins – ordinary opioids – in reaction to alcohol compared with others.

It is likely to inherit addictive activities from the family and some wonder if there is there an alcoholic gene.

If a person has parents who have struggled with alcohol use disorder, then that person is not alone.

More than 10 per cent of the people in the United States of America become adults with parents who are addicted to drinking alcohol.

Therefore, the possibilities of developing alcohol use disorder are much higher in this kind of population.

However, a family history of alcohol use disorder can influence a person only if he allows it.

It is significant to remember that a person's environment and choices can help have a healthy way of life.

Identifying Alcohol Addiction

Several problems can take place because of alcohol addiction. The following queries are the same as the queries an addiction counsellor or health care doctor will ask to diagnose a person formally.

In addition, they assist in distinguishing the severity of misuse of alcohol:

  • Are you guilty whenever you are drinking alcohol?
  • Does using, getting, and recuperating from alcohol drinking diminish the time you spend on fun activities or hobbies?
  • Has drinking alcohol lead to financial issues or troubles with meeting the responsibilities at home. School or work?
  • Do you drink alcohol, although you are aware that drinking makes other physical and mental health problems worse?
  • Do you drink alcohol, although alcohol has instigated disagreements in your relationships?
  • Have you been not able to remember what occurred or experienced blackout when you were drinking?
  • Has drinking alcohol caused interactions with police personnel, legal issues, and arrests?
  • After drinking alcohol, have you took part in risky activities such as having unprotected sex, operating or driving machinery, swimming, and a lot more?
  • Do you suffer from withdrawal indications when abstaining irrespective of intensity?
  • Have you attempted to decrease intake of alcohol without success?
  • To feel the effects of alcohol, do you want to consume more?
  • Do you have instances when you have to consume alcohol quickly or drink more than you want?

If a person has answered yes to at least 2 of the questions, then it is time to consider getting assistance for alcohol use disorder.


  • Being stressed and irritable when alcohol is hard to find
  • Becoming in denial about alcohol abuse
  • Participating in risky activities
  • Aiming to stop drinking alcohol but is unable to
  • Dedicating more energy and time to drinking alcohol over obligations, work, and family
  • Being secretive about alcohol use
  • Thinking deficiency
  • Memory weakening
  • Poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Health Effects of Alcohol Addiction

  • Impotence
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Malnutrition
  • Weakness of the eye muscle
  • Disrupted menstruation
  • Bone loss
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation of pancreas and stomach
  • Heart disease
  • Liver damage
  • Nervous system damage
  • Long-term results of addiction to drinking alcohol are abundantly and very damaging to the wellbeing and health of a person.

    Behavioural and Physical Effects

    A drinking difficulty can change the behaviour of a person. People may begin to drink when they are on their own heavily.

    People may find themselves forgetting their hygiene or lying about their drinking habits.

    In addition, drinking alcohol can lead a person to be violent, conflict-prone, and aggressive. It can alter the personality of a person.

    Moreover, drinking alcohol can lead to cognitive deficiencies. This can affect spatial processing, working memory, and remaining focused and absorbing new things.

    Mental damage can lead to mood disorders, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm as well.

    Treatment Possibilities for Alcohol Use Disorder

    Alcohol use disorders' treatment varies from one case to the other. A therapist or physician will evaluate the person and choose whether quitting or tapering is needed.

    If you, or someone you know, are in need of a professional to help with you treat your alcoholism, do not hesitate to contact our specialists at Abbeycare Gloucester or Abbeycare Scotland.

     If a person needs to quit alcohol, it is significant to check into the treatment courses, including:

    • Outpatient treatment - should be taken into consideration for people who have less serious alcohol use disorder. Individuals who are not regarded as severe high-risk for withdrawal indications can obtain treatment only for a couple of hours throughout the week while staying at home.
    • Residential treatment – should be considered by people who have already participated in either outpatient or inpatient treatment, but for people who still need continuous supervision and care in drug-free surroundings.
    • Inpatient treatment - should be taken into consideration by people who are having severe withdrawal indications. This kind of treatment can be accommodated in a hospital-based environment or a rehab facility. Patients obtain constant care and should not be allowed to leave the rehabilitation facility.


    There are a lot of medications that assist people with AUD.

    Some of these medications can help throughout the withdrawal procedure, while other medicines help people abstain from drinking alcohol while still in the recovery process.

    A number of these medications include:

    • Naltrexone – lessens the withdrawal effects. It can prevent cravings as well
    • Acamprosate – reduces the discomposure of withdrawal indications
    • Antabuse – makes the person feel sick whenever alcohol is inaccessible

    About the author

    Peter Szczepanski

    Pete has been on the GPhC register for 29 years. He holds a Clinical Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice and he is a Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Misuse for Abbeycare Gloucester and works as the Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Use in Worcestershire. To read more about Pete visit his LinkedIn profile.