Too Much Booze, Too Little Life

Alcohol dependent women have higher mortality rates than alcohol dependent men

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Habitual alcohol abuse won’t do anybody any favors. New research from Germany suggests that alcohol abuse is even a bit tougher on women than men.

A recent study followed 149 alcohol dependent men and women for 14 years. Results showed that the women in the group had especially high mortality rates.

"Seek long-term treatment for alcohol dependence."

Ulrich John, PhD, professor of epidemiology and social medicine at University Medicine Greifswald in Germany, led investigations into mortality rates for people with alcohol dependence.

For the study, 4,070 people between the ages of 18-64 living in Germany participated in a survey to determine alcohol dependence (AD) and relevant data.

A total of 119 males and 30 females were considered AD and followed for 14 years to collect longitudinal information.

Death rates among this group were compared to those of the general population. Women with AD were 4.6 times more likely and men were 1.9 more likely to die before people of the same age and gender in the general population.

Researchers found the average age of death for men, at 58 years, and women, at 60 years, with AD were 20 years less than their counterparts in the general population.

Dr. John said, “We already know females tend to respond much stronger to toxins such as alcohol than males. Women also seem to develop alcohol-attributable disease faster than men do.”

Researchers did not find that inpatient specialized treatment programs prolonged life expectancy. However, the study only followed 149 people, which may not be considered a large enough group on which to draw a conclusion.

Outpatient and continued participation in alcohol treatment support groups were not considered in this study.

Authors recommend plans to reduce premature mortality rates in people with AD should include a women-focused aspect.

This study was published in October in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Funding was provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology.

No conflicts of interest were reported.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 15, 2012
Last Updated:
October 19, 2012