Pandemic-Fueled Alcohol Abuse Creates Wave of Hospitalizations for Liver Disease

Pandemic-Fueled Alcohol Abuse Creates Wave of Hospitalizations for Liver Disease

Alcoholism-related liver disease was a growing problem even before the pandemic, with 15 million people diagnosed with the condition around the country, and with hospitalizations doubling over the past decade. Leading liver disease specialists and psychiatrists believe the isolation, unemployment and hopelessness associated with COVID-19 are driving the explosion in cases. More than 1 in 20 patients with alcohol-related liver failure die before leaving the hospital, and alcohol-related liver disease is the leading cause for transplantation. Some physicians, like Maddur, are concerned the stressors leading to increased alcohol consumption and liver disease may stretch well into the future — even after lockdowns lift. “But the real question is whether public health authorities decide to act in ways that combat [alcoholic liver disease].

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