Excess Mortality for Alcohol-Dependent, Especially Women

Predictors of time-to-death include detox treatment, dependence severity, self-rated health

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Alcohol-dependent adults, particularly women, have excess mortality, according to a study published online Oct. 16 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Ulrich John, Ph.D., of the University Medicine Greifswald in Germany, and associates conducted a longitudinal study involving 149 alcohol-dependent individuals (aged 18 to 64 years) to determine whether treatment utilization, alcohol dependence severity, alcohol-related problems, and self-rated health predict mortality over a period of 14 years.

The researchers found that, compared to the age- and sex-specific general population, the annualized death rates were 4.6-fold higher for alcohol-dependent women and 1.9-fold higher for alcohol-dependent men. Participation in inpatient specialized alcohol dependence treatment did not correlate with longer survival. Use of inpatient detoxification treatment, which was related to the severity of alcohol dependence, predicted mortality (unadjusted hazard ratio, 4.2). Mortality was also predicted by alcohol-related problems and poor self-rated health.

"It may be concluded from our findings that there was significant excess mortality, particularly for women, in this general population-derived sample of alcohol-dependent individuals," the authors write. "Main predictors of premature death among the population of alcohol-dependent individuals under study include participation in inpatient detoxification treatment, severity of alcohol dependence, alcohol-related problems, and poor self-rated general health."

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