Berlin: The annual death rates of alcohol-dependent women are 460 percent higher than the non-drinking general population while male alcoholics have a 190 percent higher death rate than the general population, German researchers have found.
"Clinical data has revealed a higher proportion of individuals who have died than among the general population of the same age," explained Ulrich John, professor of epidemiology and social medicine at the University of Greifswald.
John and colleagues gathered a random sample of 4,070 respondents aged between 18 and 64 years. Of them, 153 were identified as alcohol dependent (AD). Of these, 149 (119 males, 30 females) were followed for 14 years.
"Gender-specific data is rare, even among clinical samples. Furthermore, these studies have two main limitations," adds John, according to the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
"First, we know that only a minority of AD individuals receive treatment. We lack knowledge about how this selection occurs. Second, we have no evidence about the potential effects of specialized alcoholism treatment on mortality among people who had been diagnosed AD," says John, according to a University Medicine statement.
"We would like to know whether treatment might enhance survival time. For ethical reasons, no controlled trials are possible. Thus, longitudinal descriptive data as in this study are helpful," says John, study co-author.
John adds that Germany is well-suited for this kind of research since it is mandatory for residents to provide vital status data.
"Our data are also of international interest because researchers used the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI), which is an internationally and widely accepted instrument," he said.