How Many Emergency Room Visits Are Related to Alcohol?

How Many Emergency Room Visits Are Related to Alcohol?

Alcohol-Related Emergency Room Visits

Serious Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol is a substance that, when used responsibly and recreationally, usually does not cause any serious health complications. However, when alcohol is consumed in excess or is abused over an extended period of time, it can have a serious impact on an individual’s health.
  • Blackouts
  • Shrinking brain
  • Heart damage
  • Liver damage
  • Dependence
  • Pancreatitis
  • Malnutrition
  • Numbness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Thinning bones
  • Birth defects
  • Stomach distress
  • Lung infections
  • Hallucinations
  • Inflammatory damage
  • High blood sugar
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes complications
  • Heart attack
emergency room nurses
While some of these effects may be able to be treated with some rest, routine, or certain medications, other alcohol-related issues could require more immediate and intensive treatment. This type of treatment is typically found in a hospital’s emergency department.

What Are Considered Alcohol-Related ER Visits?

An emergency room visit is considered alcohol-related when the reason for the visit is caused by chronic alcohol use, overconsumption of alcohol, alcohol-induced injuries, or mixing alcohol with other substances.
For example, chronic alcohol abuse is known to trigger conditions such as pancreatitis, cirrhosis, withdrawal, and other ongoing health problems. If any of these problems arise, an emergency room visit may be necessary. Alcohol-related accidents, such as injuries that arise from drunk driving, are also a cause for emergency room visits. Additionally, individuals will likely require hospitalization and emergency medical treatment if they mix high levels of alcohol with drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or antidepressants.

Rate Of ER Visits Related to Alcohol

Even though alcohol use and abuse has actually decreased over the years, the amount of alcohol-related emergency room visits has increased. This may be due to the fact that the rate of risky behaviors while drinking have increased, such as driving while drinking.
Here are some stats that cover alcohol-related emergency room visits over the last ten to fifteen years:
    • In 2009, there were more than 650,000 alcohol-related ER visits in the US
    • In 2014, there were just under 5 million alcohol-related ER visits in the US
    • There were 61 percent more alcohol-related emergency room visits in 2014 than in 2006
Women are more likely to require an emergency room visit after drinking than men. While there is no specific reasoning for this, it may have something to do with tolerance and dependence. Also, the largest group of people who go to the emergency room for alcohol-related issues are individuals under 21 years of age. This is because younger people are more likely to feel more intense effects from alcohol and may display riskier behaviors while or after drinking.

Reducing the Rate Of Emergency Room Visits

Obviously, the best way to reduce the rate of emergency room visits is to cut back on drinking. It is important to know your limit and when it is time to stop drinking. Additionally, individuals should avoid risky behaviors while drinking, such as driving and operating other machinery.
Many people forget that alcohol is an actual drug because it is so normalized, but it can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs. To prevent alcohol-related hospital visits and deaths, it’s important to identify alcohol abuse as soon as possible. To learn more about alcohol-related emergency room visits, contact our team of substance abuse specialists by calling 267.209.7313.


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