Alcohol use is a major risk factor for burden of mortality and morbidity. Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are important disease outcomes caused by alcohol use. We will describe the global mortality and burden of disease in disability-adjusted life years for ALD and AUDs, based on data from the comparative risk assessment of the World Health Organization for 2016. AUDs have a limited impact on mortality in this assessment, since alcohol poisonings are almost the only disease category directly attributable to AUDs; most other alcohol-related deaths are indirect, and the cause which directly led to the death, such as liver cirrhosis, is the one recorded on the death certificate. Burden of disease for AUDs is thus mainly due to disability resulting from alcohol use. In contrast to AUDs, ALD is one of the major lethal outcomes of alcohol use, and burden of disease is mainly due to (premature) years of life lost. Many of the negative outcomes attributable to both AUDs and ALD are due to their interactions with other factors, most notably economic wealth. To avoid alcohol-attributable morbidity and mortality, measures should be taken to reduce the AUDs and ALD burden globally, especially among the poor.
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