New study reveals increase in alcohol-related deaths

The shocking new study shows alcohol-related deaths have doubled since 1999 and women are driving the spike.
4:27 | 01/14/20

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Transcript for New study reveals increase in alcohol-related deaths
We have a "Gma" health alert about how deadly excessive drinking can be. A new study finds alcohol-related deaths has doubled since 1999 and the numbers are troubling for women and Deborah Roberts is here with more on the study. Reporter: This is some pretty you are cent and timely news particularly during this month of resolutions and new intentions. Many of us are vowing to get but for women, we may also want to include a plan to rethink our relationship to alcohol. To bad moms. To bad moms. Reporter: Women throw back drinks for laughs in movies like "Bad moms." But there's no humor in a new study now showing annual alcohol-related deaths doubling between 1999 and 2017. Much of that spike driven by women who overindulge like Louisiana mom and blogger harmony Hobbs. I would drink a lot at home. Wine, just hike a glass or two and I'd feel better and then I'd get the kids to bed then I would drink like the rest of the bottle and start on another one. A bottle and maybe a bottle and a half. Right. Reporter: She's now sober. Harmony's fortunate. Researchers from the national institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism say women drinkers are at a greater risk for cancer, heart disease and liver failure because women absorb and metabolize alcohol differently. Which may explain why many women are now thinking twice about their alcohol intake. Trying sobriety challenges like dry January. Or the popular sober curious movement. Sober, sobriety, makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable. I think in our society the word is so intertwined with ideas around alcoholism, but actually sobriety can be a lifestyle choice for anybody. Reporter: Author ruby Warrington who coined the phrase says it's more relevant than People are changing their diet realizing it feels great to eat more vegetables. Who knew doctors were right all these years and then when I drink, oh, I feel like I'm undoing all of that. A lot of rust thinking about that. I'm actually doing dry January but as you might expect, though, when it comes to excessive drinking men still account for the majority of alcohol-related deaths but while their numbers have pretty much flatlined women are drinking in excess a lot more. Stats show an 85% jump in risky drinking and in binge drinking a 23% increase in women. So what's even more interesting, women over 50 are more likely to be drinking. Millennials aren't drinking as much these days. All right. Deb, thank you very much. Let's bring in Dr. Jen Ashton. Break down the study. First of all, in this category it is really important we're mindful there is a spectrum between light, social, moderate alcohol consumption and life-threatening alcohol use disorder. Okay and a lot in between. So deb alluded to some of the numbers. If you take a look a 10% increase in alcohol consumption basically over the last 20 years and a 23% increase in binge drinking. This is amongst women so, again, this is a very important and large population that we need to key into. Why is it that women seem to be more when it comes to having these alcohol-related illnesses being in more trouble. We don't know first of all why women are drinking more and drinking more to excess, but this is really important, robin. Pound for pound, drink for drink, women metabolize alcohol differently and they have more of the toxic metabolite in their system so take 150-pound woman, 150-pound man and give them both two glasses of wine, the woman would have more of that toxic metabolite. Dry January and the 12 steps. What do you tell your women patients about re-evaluating their relationship with alcohol? Like anything we do on a regular basis it's always good to turn the lens on yourself and reassess what you're doing regularly. Again, there are questions you can ask that we go through to find out if you have an alcohol use disorder. Some of them are up here. Are you unable to stop or cut down? Have you ever had a memory blackout but, again, if you are on the lighter end just, you know, do a little period, a dry month, it can be really helpful not only for your health but for your social life. Good information. As always, Jen, thank you. Ginger.

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