Are men and women in Australia hospitalised for different alcohol-caused diseases?

Australian men and women are usually hospitalised for similar alcohol-caused diseases. In 2013-14, both men (78%) and women (88%) were most likely to be hospitalised for mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol use. The second most common reason for hospital separations due to alcohol-caused disease was alcoholic liver disease.

Among Australian males in 2013-14, mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol use accounted for 78% (n=30,035) of alcohol-caused hospital separations; alcoholic liver disease accounted for 9% (n=3,660); alcohol-induced acute pancreatitis accounted for 7% (n=2,649); alcoholic gastritis accounted for 3% (n=1,320); and other causes accounted for 3% (n=1,066). Among Australian females in 2013-14, mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol use accounted for 88% (n=23,633) of alcohol-caused hospital separations; alcoholic liver disease accounted for 5% (n=1,371); alcohol-induced acute pancreatitis accounted for 3% (n=859); alcoholic gastritis accounted for 2% (n=636); and other causes accounted for 2% (n=436).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). National Hospital Morbidity Database 2013-14 (NCETA secondary analysis, 2016).

Please note: This is likely to be an under-estimation of the true number of alcohol-related hospital separations, as data for seven alcohol-caused diseases (alcohol-induced pseudo-Cushing's syndrome; alcoholic polyneuropathy; alcoholic myopathy; maternal care for (suspected) damage to fetus from alcohol; fetus and newborn affected by maternal use of alcohol; fetal alcohol syndrome (dysmorphic); and finding of alcohol in blood) are not publically available for confidentiality reasons.

Alcohol-Caused Disease: A disease, disorder or condition which was directly caused by the individual’s own alcohol consumption.

Diseases classified as directly caused by alcohol use include: mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol use; alcohol-induced pseudo-Cushing’s syndrome; degeneration of nervous system due to alcohol; alcoholic polyneuropathy; alcoholic myopathy; alcoholic cardiomyopathy; alcoholic gastritis; alcoholic liver disease; alcohol-induced acute pancreatitis; alcohol-induced chronic pancreatitis; maternal care for (suspected) damage to fetus from alcohol; fetus and newborn affected by maternal use of alcohol; fetal alcohol syndrome (dysmorphic); finding of alcohol in blood; and  toxic effect of alcohol. For confidentiality reasons, the 2013-14 National Hospital Morbidity Database excludes data for alcohol-induced pseudo-Cushing's syndrome; alcoholic polyneuropathy; alcoholic myopathy; maternal care for (suspected) damage to fetus from alcohol; fetus and newborn affected by maternal use of alcohol; fetal alcohol syndrome (dysmorphic); and finding of alcohol in blood.

Hospital separation: An episode of care for an admitted patient, which can be:

  • a total hospital stay (from admission to discharge, transfer or death); or
  • a portion of a hospital stay beginning or ending in a change of type of care (for example, from acute to rehabilitation).

Separation also means the process by which an admitted patient completes an episode of care either by being discharged, transferring to another hospital, changing type of care, or dying.