Emergency visits stemming from short-term and long-term alcohol abuse both jumped, but mostly for chronic alcohol abuse, which saw a 58 percent increase in ER visits. ER visits for acute alcohol consumption rose by 40 percent.
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The Nationa Health Institute said these increases “far outpaced” changes in the number and rate of emergency department visits for any cause during the years studied via data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, the largest emergency database in the U.S.
The rise in visits has been costly. The data also showed that total annual costs of alcohol-related visits increased from $4.1 billion to $15.3 billion during this time.
Although men account for more alcohol-related emergency department visits than women, the rate of visits increased more among women than men. This increase was mostly because of a larger increase in the rate of chronic alcohol misuse-related visits for women than men, with visits from women up 6.9 percent annually versus visits from men up 4.5 percent.
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Aaron White, who led the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism researchers, said men’s and women’s drinking habits are becoming more similar in the U.S.
“The larger increase in the rate of ED visits among females compared to males provides further evidence of narrowing gender gaps in alcohol use and related harms. This trend is concerning given that females appear to be more susceptible to some of the detrimental health effects of alcohol,” he stated.