high angle shot of man drinking alcoholic beverages

Alcohol Use Disorder: Epidemiology

Alcohol is the most frequently used addictive substance in the world.

Worldwide mean alcohol consumption among people aged 15 years & older is about 6.2 L of pure alcohol per person per year which means 13.5 g of pure alcohol per person per day (WHO range for low risk drinking = 1-20 g/day for women & 1-40 g/day for men). However, there are large regional differences in the level of alcohol consumption. For example Pakistan has mean consumption of 0.1 L & Europe has mean consumption of 10.9 L.

There is no officially defined safe drinking level. Alcohol consumption has been identified as a major cause for more than 200 diseases, accidents & other health conditions.

Damage due to Alcohol consumption are mainly dependent on:

  1. Volume of Alcohol consumed
  2. Drinking Pattern: (a) Drinking while eating is associated with less harm. (b) Heavy episodic or binge drinking is associated more with accidents, suicides, ischaemic heart disease & stroke.
  3. Quality of Alcohol Used: Home-made or illegaly produced alcohol can be contaminated with methanol or other toxic substances.

***5.1% of the global burden of disease & injury in terms of Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) is attributable to alcohol.


Worldwide about 3.3 million deaths are caused due to harmful use of alcohol, representing 5.9% of all deaths.

In the age group of 20-39 years, approximately 25% of total deaths are because of alcohol.


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