Alcohol Dependency in Russia Increases for First Time in a Decade

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

(Moscow Times – Jan. 15, 2024)

Alcohol dependency in Russia has increased for the first time in 10 years, Russia’s business daily Kommersant reported Monday, citing data from the state statistics agency Rosstat.

In the decade between 2010 and 2021, first-time alcohol use disorder diagnoses declined from 153,900 to 53,300.

But in 2022, doctors issued 54,200 first-time diagnoses of alcohol use disorder, according to Rosstat’s “Healthcare in Russia 2023” handbook published in December.

Russia’s Health Ministry has said that the COVID-19 pandemic “disrupted the trend toward lower alcohol consumption,” which was marked by a decrease in alcohol poisoning deaths from 15 per 100,000 to seven per 100,000 in the last 15 years.

“Social and economic upheavals, increased geopolitical confrontations and sanctions have somewhat slowed” progress in reducing excessive alcohol consumption, Ruslan Isayev, who heads a Moscow-based addiction clinic, told Kommersant.

Diagnoses do not account for addicts who seek treatment in private clinics, said Vladimir Mendelevich, head of the Kazan State Medical University’s Department of Medical and General Psychology.

Alcohol-induced psychosis, which includes symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions that last after the effects of alcohol wear off, has “increased dramatically” in recent years, Mendelevich told Kommersant.

According to Rosstat, alcohol psychosis cases in 2022 totaled 12,900 after declining from 47,500 to 12,800 in 2010-21.

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