Workaholics at greater risk to be alcoholics
Everyone’s heard that all work and no play can make Jack a dull boy, but did you know that it could also make him an alcoholic?
According to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, people who work more than 48 hours a week are likely to drink alcohol more heavily than their more balanced, 40-hour-a-week coworkers.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Cambridge, Mass., included data from more than 330,000 adults in 14 countries. According to the findings, those who work longer work weeks are 11 percent more likely to drink heavily—more than 14 drinks in a week for women and more than 21 for men.
“The workplace is an important setting for the prevention of alcohol misuse, because more than half of the adult population are employed,” said Cassandra Okechukwa, lead researcher, said in a statement. “Further research is needed to assess whether preventative interventions against risky alcohol use could benefit from information on working hours.”
Dr. Paul Ringel, internal medicine specialist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, says that although the risks found may not sound very high, the study may still be of some significance.
“The findings suggest some people may be more susceptible to coping with their excess workloads with unhealthy habits, such as excessive alcohol consumption,” says Dr. Ringel . “Though this study doesn’t really prove the cause and effect, some assumptions can be made.”
According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last year, one in 10 deaths for U.S. adults ages 20 to 64 years are the result of excessive alcohol consumption.
“Heavy alcohol use is incredibly hard on your health,” Dr. Ringel says. “Not only does drinking lower inhibitions, making you more likely to engage in risky behavior, like driving under the influence, but it can also raise your blood pressure, raise your risk of stroke and heart attack, and even affect your memory.”
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.