Monday, 18 June, 2018

Non-Drinkers Are As Likely To Miss Work As Heavy Drinkers

Moderate Alcohol Drinkers Have Better Work Attendance, Compared To Teetotalers, Survey Finds Tee-totalers are more likely to call in sick from work than regular drinkers, according to a new study
Celia Hoffman | 08 June, 2018, 08:09

In a recent study, people who reported not drinking any alcohol over several years were absent from work due to illness more often than low-risk drinkers.

Finnish researchers surveyed almost 50,000 in Europe - asking about their alcohol use and the number of sick days they reported over the course of several years.

The researchers classified people into five categories that ranged from people who did not drink, the ones that claim they drank moderately, and those who were heavy drinkers in either the first, second, or both surveys.

The study, published in the journal Addiction, had a reference group of moderate drinkers: women who drink 1 to 11 units of alcohol every week as well as men who drink 1 to 34 units of alcohol every week.

One would think that cutting off alcohol can do wonders with work attendance, but researchers say that abstaining isn't necessarily the answer. Apparently, complete abstainees are just as likely to miss work than heavy drinkers.

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Compared with moderate drinkers, abstainers were 51 percent more likely to take a mental health-related absence, 22 percent more likely because of musculoskeletal injuries, 24 percent for circulatory systems, 35 percent for diseases of the digestive system and 49 percent for diseases of the respiratory system. The national and employer registry reports were accessed for information regarding absences.

It could be because people with existing health problems are more likely to avoid alcohol. Scientists of one of the departments of the European Agency for safety and health at work found that small amounts of alcohol improves health and prevents the risk of common diseases.

"Moreover, participants to whom at-risk drinking causes health problems may be selected out from the labor market, that is, if they retire early or become unemployed".

"Drinking in moderation seems not to be associated with sickness absence", lead author, Dr.JenniErvasti, of the study, stated. And it doesn't capture short-term impacts on work, such as absence, or reduced productivity, due to hangovers. "Then, the adverse effects are not seen in absence from work due to illness". The findings also seemed to note more non-drinker participants came from a poorer background, a factor linked to more sickness.

Experts have cited other limitations - such as the study being conducted in Europe, where lifestyle and drinking habits may be different than other place. The data on drinking habits are also self-reported, which may be taken with a grain of salt.

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