Russia sees increase in alcohol dependence diagnoses for first time in decade

Written by Jeppe W

Jan.15 - 2024 12:08 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com

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For the first time in over a decade, Russia has witnessed a notable increase in the number of people newly diagnosed with alcohol dependence, according to recent statistics published by Rosstat, the Federal State Statistics Service. This development, as reported by the newspaper Kommersant, marks a significant shift in a trend that has seen a consistent decline in such diagnoses since 2010.

Rosstat's report "Healthcare in Russia 2023," released in late December, highlights that around 54,200 individuals were diagnosed with alcohol dependence in 2022, an increase from approximately 53,000 in 2021. To put this in perspective, the year 2010 recorded about 100,000 such cases, with the numbers steadily decreasing each year thereafter.

In 2010, roughly 153,900 individuals with this diagnosis were under regular medical observation, a figure that had drastically dropped to 53,300 by 2021. However, data for 2023 regarding the number of patients under observation has not been released yet by Rosstat.

Experts interviewed by Kommersant have attributed this uptick in alcohol dependence diagnoses to a combination of factors, including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, socioeconomic disruptions, and the intensification of geopolitical conflicts. These factors are believed to have played a significant role in influencing this trend reversal.

Interestingly, the Russian Health Ministry, in 2022, reported a more than 62 percent decrease in alcohol poisoning deaths from 2008 to 2021. Nevertheless, the ministry noted that the downward trend in alcohol consumption and mortality directly linked to alcohol was disrupted during the coronavirus pandemic.

This recent increase in alcohol dependence diagnoses in Russia highlights the complex interplay of health, societal, and political factors impacting public health trends. It also raises concerns about the effectiveness of ongoing public health interventions and strategies to combat alcohol-related issues in the country.

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