In 2015, 4.5% of the disease burden in Australia was due to alcohol use, making it the 6th leading risk factor contributing to disease burden.
These estimates reflect the amount of disease burden that could have been avoided if all people in the Australian population had not consumed alcohol.
Alcohol use contributed to the burden of 30 diseases and injuries including alcohol use disorders, 8 types of cancer, chronic liver disease and 12 types of injury— predominantly road traffic injuries and suicide & self-inflicted injuries (see Supplementary tables).
How much burden was attributable to alcohol use?
Alcohol use was responsible for the entire burden due to alcohol use disorders, 40% of liver cancer and 28% of chronic liver disease burden.
Note that the following visualisation displays the top 10 linked diseases due to alcohol use.
There was a 9% increase (18,314 DALYs) in total burden attributable to all types of alcohol use between 2003 and 2015 which was driven by a 20% increase due to population growth. Among females, total attributable burden due to all types of alcohol use increased by 11% (6,216 DALYs) compared with a 9% increase (12,098 DALYs) among males.
Total burden attributable to alcohol dependence increased by 26% (24,511 DALYs) between 2003 and 2015 which was driven by a 21% increase due to population growth.
Total attributable burden due to current alcohol use and former alcohol use decreased by 7% (5,475 DALYs) and 2% (722 DALYs), respectively, between 2003 and 2015, due to changes in linked disease burden.
Among males, total burden attributable to former alcohol use increased by 2% (278 DALYs) between 2003 and 2015 compared with a 6% decrease (1,000 DALYs) among females.
How did burden attributable to alcohol use vary by age and sex?
The burden attributable to alcohol use was estimated in people aged 15 years and over.
Males experienced a greater amount of burden due to alcohol use than females in most age groups. For males, alcohol use attributable burden peaked during ages 25–44, primarily due to alcohol use disorders and suicide & self-inflicted injuries.
By comparison, burden attributable to alcohol use was experienced in older age groups in females, peaking in ages 65–84. The burden experienced was due to a number of diseases including coronary heart disease, breast cancer, liver cancer and chronic liver disease.
A large amount of the burden attributable to alcohol use was due to alcohol use disorders—50% of the attributable burden (DALY) in people aged between 15 and 34, and 87% of attributable non-fatal burden (YLL) between people aged 15 and 44.
Did attributable burden vary by socioeconomic group?
Disease burden attributable to alcohol use was 1.8 times greater in the lowest (most disadvantaged) socioeconomic group compared with the highest (least disadvantaged) group.
How has disease burden due to alcohol use changed over time?
The rate of total burden due to alcohol use (from all linked diseases) decreased by 12% between 2003 and 2015 (from 9.9 DALY to 8.6 DALY per 1,000 population).