Last Updated on June 21, 2019
Cirrhosis deaths have grown significantly in recent years, especially among young people. Experts cite alcohol as a major cause of these fatalities. That’s according to a recent study published in the journal BMJ.
The number of deaths linked to liver disease increased by 65 percent from 1999-2016. Moreover, adults aged 25-34 experienced the largest relative increase in mortality. Deaths rose in all but one state—Maryland—in the study’s timeframe.
While these statistics are shocking, there’s still hope for people who suffer from alcohol addiction. New programs that curb the amount of alcohol young people consume and promote healthier attitudes toward drinking will save lives.
The Rise in Alcohol-Related Cirrhosis Deaths
Young adults experienced the highest average annual increase in alcohol-related cirrhosis deaths, according to the BMJ study—around 10.5 percent every year from 1999-2016.
“Each alcohol-related death means decades of lost life, broken families, and lost economic productivity,” says Elliot Tapper, a physician and professor at the University of Michigan Medical School.
Tapper identifies high unemployment, perhaps as a result of the 2008 global financial crisis, as one of the possible reasons behind the sharp rise in alcohol-related cirrhosis deaths among young people. But we need to do more research, he says. And while innovations in antiviral medications have greatly reduced the number cirrhosis deaths linked to hepatitis C, there is still a lot of work to be done to curb alcohol-related cirrhosis deaths.
What Are My Alcohol Treatment Options?
Telemedicine can have a massive impact on young adults who feel like their relationship with alcohol has spiraled out of control. At-home programs that provide them with the tools and resources they need to curb their drinking habits and reduce alcohol consumption could change their lives for the better.
This is where Ria Health comes in. We’re an at-home program that connects young adults with addiction specialists and certified recovery coaches. Everything happens through our easy-to-use, HIPAA-compliant smartphone app. On average, our members reduce their drinking by 70 percent after just six months. What’s more, Ria members can learn new techniques and access useful resources from their smartphone at a time that suits them.
I Don’t Want to Quit Alcohol, I Just Want to Drink Less. How Do I Do That?
Millions of people have an alcohol use disorder, and millions more simply drink more than they’d like. But less than 15 percent of heavy drinkers get treatment. That may be largely because most forms of treatment—like rehab and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)—force you to completely abstain from alcohol. These methods are based on the idea that it’s impossible to make a moderate drinker out of an alcohol abuser, and therefore you must white-knuckle your way to sobriety in order to prevent relapse.
But those ideas are outdated. There are FDA-approved medications—like naltrexone and acamprosate—that have been shown time and again to significantly reduce alcohol cravings and total alcohol intake. At Ria Health, we help our members achieve moderation—or abstinence, if that’s what they want—through these science-based solutions. And we do it in a way that doesn’t disrupt their lives. With our at-home program, members don’t need to abstain from alcohol or attend an expensive rehab facility. Instead, they can make changes from the comfort of their own home. Ria helps its members drink less, establish healthier drinking habits, and gain control over their relationship with alcohol.