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How income impacts alcohol consumption

How income impacts alcohol consumption

There are studies that have found a direct relationship between income and alcoholism. Those who are financially strong can indulge more in alcohol yet have the necessary resources to enhance health thereafter, while individuals who are economically weaker may have to face financial hardships and other consequences owing to drinking. It may thus lead to a higher risk of developing alcoholism among the low-income individuals.

Experts say that the practice of heavy and hazardous drinking is prevalent among the lower income individuals, while those with higher incomes engage in controlled drinking. Normally, individuals with lower incomes resort to drinking alcohol as self-medication to alleviate their higher levels of stress.

On the contrary, people who fall in the higher income bracket indulge in light drinking due to the availability of disposable income. They also engage in such practices owing to the legitimization and wide acceptance of moderate drinking for social functions, business events and professional networking.

The consistent exposure to socioeconomic disadvantages in childhood increases the risk of developing problematic drinking patterns during adulthood. Other indicators like education and occupation also play a pivotal role in developing risky behaviors like alcoholism. While higher education enhances understanding of the repercussions of alcohol consumption and similar practices, low income and limited scope of growth in an occupation push a person towards alcoholism.

There’s no fixed rule

Since moderate drinking is linked to a lowered risk of death due to any heart disease compared to heavy drinking, Eirik Degerud of Norwegian Institute of Public Health recently conducted a study to determine the same. The research, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, examined around 208,000 Norwegian adults born in 1960 or earlier to find their frequency of alcohol consumption.

While the trend of consuming a few drinks per week was prevalent among the higher income participants, the practice of drinking four to seven drinks per week was common among those with lower income. Besides triggering problematic drinking patterns, the study found that the level of change witnessed in the effects of drinking depended on the income of the users. However, indulgence in regular binge drinking was dangerous irrespective of the financial background. Moreover, people getting drunk on a weekly basis stood an increased risk of developing fatal heart diseases. Though higher socioeconomic status played a crucial role in worsening the effects of drinking, there was no fixed rule for everyone.

Some of the common explanations for the advantages of higher income in terms of drinking are that higher income people are able to engage in heathier eating habits and exercise routines compared to lower income individuals. Moreover, the level of repercussions of alcohol consumption depends on the kind of medical conditions being grappled by the users. Therefore, any amount of drinking is dangerous for both cardiovascular and overall health of an individual.

Alcoholism can affect anyone

Contrary to the above-mentioned findings, past studies have pointed out that alcohol abuse is prevalent among people with a higher income and education. While around 78 percent people with an annual income of $75,000 and above admitted to consuming alcohol, only 45 percent with an annual income of less than $30,000 reported the same. Moreover, a large number of graduates (80 percent) indulged in drinking compared to individuals (52 percent) who were not able to study beyond high school.

If you or your loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, contact the 24/7 Alcohol Abuse Help for quick assistance. Call at our alcohol helpline number 866-480-6873 or chat online with our representative for information on treatment centers for alcohol addiction in your vicinity.