Thursday July 18, 2019

Society Needs to Combat Second Hand Effects of Drinking as People Suffer Alcohol’s Harm

These harms could be threats or harassment, ruined property or vandalism, physical aggression, harms related to driving

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Society, Drinking, Alcohol
An estimated 53 million adults -- experienced harm because of someone else's drinking in the last 12 months. Pixabay

Just like second-hand smoking, society needs to combat the second-hand effects of drinking as millions of people are suffering alcohol’s harm because of someone else’s drinking, warn a study led by an Indian-origin scientist.

An analysis of US national survey data showed that some 21 per cent of women and 23 per cent of men — an estimated 53 million adults — experienced harm because of someone else’s drinking in the last 12 months.

These harms could be threats or harassment, ruined property or vandalism, physical aggression, harms related to driving or financial or family problems.

The most common harm was threats or harassment, reported by 16 per cent of survey respondents, said researchers led by Madhabika B. Nayak of the Alcohol Research Group, a programme of the Public Health Institute in Oakland, California.

Society, Drinking, Alcohol
Just like second-hand smoking, society needs to combat the second-hand effects of drinking. Pixabay

The specific types of harm experienced differed by gender. Women were more likely to report financial and family problems, whereas ruined property, vandalism and physical aggression were more likely to be reported by men.

There is “considerable risk for women from heavy, often male, drinkers in the household and, for men, from drinkers outside their family,” wrote the authors in a paper published in Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Additional factors, including age and the person’s own drinking, were also important.

People younger than age 25 had a higher risk of experiencing harm from someone else’s drinking.

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Further, almost half of men and women who themselves were heavy drinkers said they had been harmed by someone else’s drinking.

Even people who drank but not heavily were at two to three times the risk of harassment, threats and driving-related harm compared with abstainers.

“Control policies, such as alcohol pricing, taxation, reduced availability, and restricting advertising, may be the most effective ways to reduce not only alcohol consumption but also alcohol’s harm to persons other than the drinker,” said Nayak. (IANS)

Next Story

Quit Alcohol For Improved Mental Health, Say Researchers

In fact, anyone can benefit from sobriety because the potential benefits of alcohol do not outweigh its known harm and risks

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Bottles of Alcohol. Wikimedia Commons

By Bharat Upadhyay

If you thought moderate drinking would not do you much harm, think again. Researchers have found that quitting alcohol completely may improve mental well-being, especially for women.

Moderate drinking was defined as 14 drinks or less per week for men and 7 drinks or less per week for women.

The study found that men and women who were lifetime abstainers had the highest level of mental well-being at the start of the study.

For women who were moderate drinkers and quit drinking, quitting was linked to a favourable change in mental well-being, showed results published in the journal CMAJ.

While the study was conducted on Chinese and American populations, experts have said that the results could apply to Indian populations too.

Society, Drinking, Alcohol
An estimated 53 million adults — experienced harm because of someone else’s drinking in the last 12 months. Pixabay

According to Naveen Kumar, Consultant Gastroenterology, Narayana Superspecialty Hospital in Gurugram, quitting alcohol even for a month could help in repairing the gut and metabolic system and alleviate its symptoms. It will help in boosting long-term health and can provide a healthier quality of life.

“Abstinence from alcohol is mandatory for a healthier brain and liver, a stronger immune system and heart, especially in women as alcohol effects are more harmfully serious on women, considering their metabolism and estrogen levels,” Kumar told IANS.

In fact, anyone can benefit from sobriety because the potential benefits of alcohol do not outweigh its known harm and risks.

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“Alcohol works in a way that may depress our central nervous system and may fluctuate our mood as it lowers the levels of serotonin in our brain. Regular consumption changes the chemistry of the brain and results in the depletion of our mental health,” Mrinmay Kumar Das, Senior Consultant at Jaypee Hospital in Noida told IANS.

“To increase the brain volume and to deal with all sorts of situations, abstinence is required,” he added. (IANS)