Saturday 1 October 2016

Warning: We drink more than we think

Published 23/06/2016 | 02:30

Alcohol led to the hospitalisation of around 17,120 in a year and absorbed one in every 10 euro spent on public health care (Stock picture)
Alcohol led to the hospitalisation of around 17,120 in a year and absorbed one in every 10 euro spent on public health care (Stock picture)

We are drinking more than we think.

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A new report on alcohol consumption, and the toll it is taking on our health, said official figures indicate that Irish adults are each downing 11 litres of drink a year.

This corresponds to 41 bottles of vodka, 116 bottles of wine or 445 pints of beer.

However, the Health Research Board report delivered a sober warning.

It pointed out that one in five of us is teetotal - so the real level of tippling is much higher.

It means that for those who do take a drink, the individual consumption amounts to a worrying 46 bottles of vodka, 130 bottles of wine, or 498 pints of beer each a year. It pointed out that overall people underestimate how much alcohol we are putting away.

Dr Deidre Mongan, the lead author, warned that alcohol is responsible for three deaths a day.

It led to the hospitalisation of around 17,120 in a year and absorbed one in every 10 euro spent on public health care.

Dr Mongan added:"The report highlights that the rate of alcoholic liver disease trebled between 1995 and 2013. The fact the highest rate of increase was found in 15-34 year olds is a real public health concern as alcoholic liver disease usually develops after a number of years of harmful drinking, and as a result it is normally seen in older people.

"However, these increases would reflect the high occurrence of harmful drinking patterns that have been observed in numerous Irish surveys over the past decade."

Patients with alcohol-related disease are also spending longer in hospital as their illnesses are becoming more complex.

"It is not just what Irish people drink, but the way they drink that causes harm," Dr Mongan said. "In 2013 the Health Research Board alcohol diary survey showed that more than 50pc of Irish drinkers consume alcohol in a harmful manner.

"They drink too much alcohol in one sitting and more than the recommended number of standard drinks in a week."

She said that between 2001 and 2010, one in ten breast cancer cases was attributable to alcohol.

Irish Independent

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