Increasing cases of alcohol-related liver disease in Norfolk has prompted warnings from a leading consultant at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

Gastroenterologist Dr Martin Phillips remarked upon growing hospital admissions for alcohol attributable illness across the county, expressing a particular concern that those receiving treatment are increasingly younger women in their 20s.

Dr Phillips said: “It’s a common misconception that women can handle their alcohol intake just as well as men. It’s simply not true: a woman’s liver cannot break down alcohol as quickly as a man’s – women are more susceptible to the physical damage of excessive drinking.” He noted that instances of liver cirrhosis among young women were rare only 15 years ago, but that he had recently treated a 19-year-old.

Norfolk based addiction charity Norcas observed more young women seeking help with alcoholism or binge drinking in the past 10 to 15 years; the increase is proportionally higher than that of men.
Norcas operations manager, Andrew Cleveland said: “The increase of young women with alcohol dependency can in part be attributed to a significant change in attitude to alcohol. For many young women and men, going out and getting drunk is an accepted lifestyle choice. The impact their drinking may be having on their health, both short and long term, is very far from their minds.”