Second hand alcohol studied

Secondhand alcohol? How can that be?

Secondhand effects of alcohol are the negative experiences directly resulting from someone else’s drinking, things like being insulted or humiliated by the drinker, a serious argument or quarrel, being pushed, hit or otherwise assaulted, sexual assault or date rape, to name a few, advises a study at the University of Otago in New Zealand. The study can be found at the U.S. National Library of Medicine-National Institutes of Health.

The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs reports that one in five adults experience harms because of someone else’s drinking. “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.”

WebMD lists harms that include damaged property, vandalism, physical aggression, financial problems, relationship issues and issues related to driving. “More than 5 percent of deaths worldwide are attributed to alcohol…global toxic impact on the body affects all organs and most sectors of society.”

Excessive use of alcohol increases risks of certain cancers like breast cancer, mouth, throat, esophagus and liver cancers, stroke, high blood pressure, liver disease, brain damage to an unborn child, and more, advises the Mayo Clinic.

Researchers wanted to find out how drinking alcohol affects physical and mental well-being by comparing China and the United States. Change in mental well-being was most positive for those females who quit. Within four years they were close to the same level as that of women who had never consumed alcohol in both U.S. and Chinese populations. (www.cmaj.ca/content/). Global consumption of alcohol is becoming more widespread, increasing the risks of cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disease and neuropsychiatric disorders, according to this source.

Apparently no one is certain about the risks of moderate drinking, however, there is a school of thought that claims there is no safe limit. “Alcoholic beverages have been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.”

Mayo Clinic advises avoiding alcohol if you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Also, if you’ve had a hemorrhagic stroke, have liver or pancreatic disease, heart failure or weak heart, or you take prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol, you should not drink alcohol. Finally, if you’ve been diagnosed with alcoholism or alcohol abuse, you should avoid consuming alcohol.

It’s unlikely that people who start drinking alcohol expect to become addicted to it. What is wrong with a drink now and then in social situations? But sometimes something happens and drinking alcohol hurts not just the drinker, but also the people in that drinker’s life.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.


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