Young People Threatened By Deadly Health Effects of Alcohol Abuse

By John Lavitt 02/03/15

A doctor in Ireland has seen a staggering rise in alcohol-related deaths among young people.

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In a report in the Irish Independent, a noted Dublin doctor revealed a sharp increase in young people being threatened by the deadly health effects of alcoholism and alcohol abuse.

As one of Ireland’s leading researchers and a consultant hepatologist at the Mater Hospital, Dr. Stephen Stewart explained how alarmed he has been to witness the stark increase. More and more young people are showing up at hospitals with life threatening illnesses related to alcohol abuse.

"It used to be 60-year old men," Stewart said. "There is only one guy who I saw that was 18, there was one guy who was 20 years old who died from an alcohol-related liver disease. We are seeing progressively more young to middle-aged people with end stage liver disease. They are coming in jaundiced, with cirrhosis and with bad addiction. Some of those are starting drinking very young in their life, in the mid-to-late teens.”

As a hepatologist, Dr. Stewart has extensive experience treating patients with liver problems, particularly cirrhosis. As a potentially life threatening serious liver disease, which occurs after large amounts of regular tissue is replaced by scar tissue in the liver, cirrhosis tends to only be seen in older patients. With alcohol abuse happening at younger and younger ages in Ireland, cirrhosis is now becoming a serious health problem for young people as well.

"Alcohol is the World Health Organization's class one carcinogen. It's one of the few really well-known cancer causing agents," Stewart said. "The real problems come from repeated, even moderate to heavy use ... It increases risk of cancer, it increases risk of liver disease. It massively increases risk of breast cancer and suicide. Those are the issues long-term.”

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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