People as young as 20 dying from alcohol abuse

PEOPLE as young as 20 have died from alcohol-related illnesses, one of the countries leading consultants has revealed.


Dr Stephen Stewart, a consultant hepatologist in the Mater Hospital, said there has been a stark increase in the number of young people who are presenting themselves in hospitals with alcohol related illnesses in recent years.

Dr Stewart revealed that he seen one young man suffering from the ill-effects of alcohol who was just 18-years-old.

“It used to be 60-year-old men, and now it is very commonly 30- and 40-year-old women, as well as those men,” Dr Stewart explained.

“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,” Dr Stewart said.

Cirrhosis is a potentially life threatening serious liver disease which occurs after large amounts of regular tissue is replaced by scar tissue in the liver.


“Alcohol is the World Health Organisation’s class one carcinogen. It’s one of the few really well-known cancer causing agents”, said Dr Stewart.

“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,” he added.

Irish Independent