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How Long Do Alcoholics Live? (Alcoholic Life Expectancy)

A 2014 study found that the life expectancy of an alcoholic was between 24 and 28 years shorter than the average lifespan of the general population.

May 12, 2023

Alcoholic Life Expectancy

The average lifespan in the U.K. is 81 years old, whereas the overall average lifespan of an alcoholic is 52 years old.

avglifespanalcoholic infographicimg2

How Alcohol Consumption Impacts Lifespan

Combined analysis in 2018 by Angela M Wood PhD et al found that drinking more than 100g of alcohol each week - equivalent to 5 pints of beer or large glasses of wine - led to a reduced lifespan of between 6 months to 4-5 years.

The Lancet study found that:

  • Regularly drinking between 100-200g per week regularly reduces lifespan by 6 months.
  • Regularly drinking between 200-300g per week reduces lifespan by 1-2 years.
  • Regularly drinking more than 350g per week reduces lifespan by 4-5 years.

The World Health Organization (WHO) found that 3 million deaths every year are caused by the harmful use of alcohol.

People ages of 20 to 39 are the largest age group affected, as 13.5% of all deaths are alcohol-related.

There were almost 9,000 deaths in the U.K. in 2020 with alcohol-specific causes.

avglifespanalcoholic infographicimgextended3

How Does An Alcoholic's Physical Health Impact Their Average Lifespan?

Alcohol abuse increases the risk of life-threatening diseases, such as fatty liver, cirrhosis, and coronary heart diseas, which, in turn, reduce expected lifespan.

How Do Lifestyle Factors Of An Alcoholic Influence Average Lifespan?

Alcoholism is a serious disease that affects not only the individual who is struggling with it but also their friends and family. Alcoholism is known to have a negative impact on an individual's overall health, including their lifespan. Lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking can also contribute to a shorter lifespan for an alcoholic.

One of the most significant lifestyle factors that can influence the average lifespan of an alcoholic is their diet. Alcoholics often consume large amounts of alcohol and may neglect to eat a balanced diet.

This can lead to malnutrition and a weakened immune system, which can increase the risk of developing a range of health problems.

Additionally, alcoholics may consume foods that are high in fat and sugar, which can lead to obesity and other health problems.

Another lifestyle factor that can influence the average lifespan of an alcoholic is their level of physical activity. Alcoholics are often lethargic and may not engage in regular exercise. This can lead to a range of health problems, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Smoking is also a common lifestyle factor among alcoholics that can influence their lifespan. Alcoholics may be more likely to smoke cigarettes, which can have a range of negative health effects, including an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

Other lifestyle factors that can influence the average lifespan of an alcoholic include stress levels, sleep habits, and overall mental health. Alcoholics may be more likely to experience stress and anxiety, which can lead to a range of health problems.

Additionally, alcoholics may experience disturbed sleep patterns, which can lead to fatigue and other health problems.

In conclusion, the lifestyle factors of an alcoholic can have a significant impact on their overall health and lifespan.

A poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, stress, and disturbed sleep patterns can all contribute to a range of health problems and a shorter lifespan. It is important for alcoholics to seek help and support to overcome their addiction and improve their overall health and wellbeing.

Can An Alcoholic's Lifespan Be Increased?

Alcoholism is a chronic and progressive disease that can have severe physical and mental health consequences. It is well-known that heavy drinking can lead to liver damage, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other serious health problems, which can shorten an alcoholic's lifespan. However, it is possible to increase an alcoholic's lifespan by taking steps to manage the disease and improve overall health.

The first step towards increasing an alcoholic's lifespan is to seek professional help. Alcoholism is a complex disease that requires specialized treatment, including therapy, medication, and support groups.

Professional treatment can help an alcoholic to overcome the physical and psychological dependence on alcohol, and develop healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress and cravings.

In addition to seeking professional help, an alcoholic can take steps to improve their physical health. This includes adopting a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, and avoiding other substances that can have negative effects on the body. Regular medical check-ups are also important to monitor any potential health problems and catch them early.

It is important to note that recovery from alcoholism is a lifelong process. Even after successful treatment, an alcoholic must continue to manage their disease and avoid relapse. This may involve ongoing therapy, participation in support groups, and avoiding triggers that can lead to drinking.


In conclusion, while alcoholism can have serious health consequences that can shorten an alcoholic's lifespan, it is possible to increase their lifespan by seeking professional help, improving overall health, and managing the disease. Recovery from alcoholism is a challenging process, but with commitment and support, it is possible to live a healthy and fulfilling life in sobriety.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4402015/
  2. https://www.abbeycarefoundation.com/alcohol/what-is-the-average-lifespan-of-an-alcoholic/
  3. https://vertavahealthmississippi.com/blog/alcohol-abuse-and-life-expectancy/
Dr. Elizabeth Drew
Medical Director

Medical Director Dr. Elizabeth Drew graduated from Hahnemann University School of Medicine and completed her family practice residency at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown PA. In 2005, she opened her family medicine office in Doylestown, and in 2008 she treated her first patient for opiate addiction.

Since then Dr. Drew has attained her board certification in Addiction Medicine, treated more than a thousand patients for addiction to opiates and alcohol, participated in programs to educate the community, traveled to Washington DC to educate our legislators, and served as Medical Director at some of the best addiction treatment programs in Pennsylvania.

She understands that addiction is a chronic disease that no one would choose to have, and her treatment philosophy is based on respect, compassion, and empowerment. She is excited to be the Medical Director of MPower Wellness and work to provide superior addiction treatment in Chester County.

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