Alcohol Related Liver Disease On The Rise In USA, With Younger Patients Suffering

Across the world alcohol abuse is a huge problem. A total of 5% of deaths can be attributed to the substance, and in the USA the number of alcohol related liver disease issues is on the rise, especially among young people.

A report by NBC News has catalogued some of the stories young people are going through, finding that alcohol abuse is rife and more people are needing help than ever before.

That’s being backed up by the number of people currently seeking treatment in rehabilitation centres, going through alcohol withdrawal and the road to recovery. An increasing number of people are recognising they do have a problem with alcohol, particularly younger people, but it is resulting in a trend of 25-34 year olds experiencing severe liver damage, damage that you’d usually associate with people in their 50s and 60s.

Drinking culture has changed significantly in that time, with a huge rise in the 2000s, lad culture movies and the media landscape portraying it as cool, something which perhaps won’t affect the generation growing up today.

A study in 2018 showed that alcohol related cirrhosis, the scarring of the liver that can lead to the organ failing, has been rising at a consistent rate across all ages. However, there has been a sharp increase across that younger age group.

Naturally, the pandemic has since played a part in a further increase as people suffer with the stress of that, as well as the economic climate and the boredom that set in with people having nothing to do and nowhere to go.

Women are particularly suffering, and while more men have died due to alcohol abuse over the last few years, the mortality rate is rising more quickly among women, at 37% compared to 29% in men, due to alcohol abuse.

Dr Jessica Mellinger, a liver specialist spoke to NBC about the rising trend of younger people suffering with issues with the organ, “We’re definitely seeing younger and younger patients coming in with what we previously thought was advanced liver disease seen in patients only in their middle age, 50s and 60s.”

A concerted effort now needs to be made in order to educate that particular generation (and younger) on the effects of alcohol, as well as showcasing the options available when it comes to treatment, particularly as for younger patients, if they do stop drinking there is a much higher chance of the liver fully recovering, before it’s too late.