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Drinking too much alcohol over a long period of time may lead to chronic diseases. But, the harmful effects of alcohol are not just limited to negative health effects. Too much alcohol drinking also has social effects, which not only affect the individual, but also the family, friends and society.
A study published June 30, 2019 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs has shown that one in five adults i.e. an estimated 53 million women and men experienced at least one harm because of someone else’s drinking.
- Women were more likely to report harm due to drinking by a spouse/partner or family member, whereas men were more likely to report harm due to a stranger’s drinking.
- Being female also predicted family/financial harms.
- Younger age increased risk for all alcohol’s harm to others (AHTO) types, except physical aggression.
- Being of Black/other ethnicity, being separated/widowed/divorced, and having a college education without a degree each predicted physical aggression harm.
- The harmed individual’s own heavy drinking and having a heavy drinker in the household increased risk for all AHTO types.
- The risk for physical aggression due to someone else’s drinking was particularly elevated for heavy drinking women.
The study concluded that the secondhand effects of alcohol in the United States are substantial and affected by sociodemographics, the harmed individual’s own drinking, and the presence of a heavy drinker in the household.
Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee
President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Past National President IMA