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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Working Long Hours May Lead to Risky Drinking

A new study has found that employees who work more than 48 hours a week are at a higher risk of alcohol abuse, HealthDay reports. The research showed that people who worked more than 48 hours were almost 13 percent more likely to have risky drinking habits, compared with those who work less.

More than 300,000 people from 14 countries were included in the study. Researchers classified risky drinking to be more than 14 drinks a week for women and more than 21 drinks weekly for men.

According to the researchers, drinking this much could increase the risk of health problems, such as:
  • Cancer
  • Liver Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Mental Disorders
“Although the risks were not very high, these findings suggest that some people might be prone to coping with excess working hours by habits that are unhealthy, in this case by using alcohol above the recommended limits,” said study author Marianna Virtanen of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki.

“The paper supports the longstanding suspicion that many workers may be using alcohol as a mental and physical painkiller, and for smoothing the transition from work to home,” Cassandra Okechukwu of the Harvard School of Public Health wrote in an editorial. “Many workers are working long hours, and there are many efforts to curtail regulations against working long hours,” she said. “However, policymakers should think carefully before exempting workers from restrictions on working hours.”

Virtanen believes, according to the article, that some people working long hours may turn to alcohol to cope with stress, depression, tiredness and sleep problems.

The research was published in BMJ.

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