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Non-drinkers Take More Sick Leaves Than Regular Drinkers

By Rashi Shah

What if I tell you that drinking is not a bad thing? What if I tell you that being a social drinker can actually be a good idea? Shocked, aren't you? This is probably the first article that is actually telling you these things and asking you to drink a moderate amount of alcohol, isn't it? Well, there's a reason behind it. It's not just random talking.

A study conducted by a few researchers has revealed that social drinkers, in fact, take less number of sick leaves than those who do not drink at all. Researchers have found out that people who usually drink moderately as opposed to the ones who are extremists who either drink heavily or those who don't drink at all have the best health than the other people.


They studied the people of UK, Finland, and France and finally reached the conclusion that non-alcoholics, in fact, have a greater risk of taking more number of sick leaves due to various sicknesses and illnesses, such as mental disorders, problems related to their muscles and bones, and illnesses related to their stomach and lungs.

Although, the researchers did make it a point to exclude the people who had stopped drinking due to various health issues that they were facing, which may have been due to the excess amount of drinking. But they did warn that their absence from work could be because of one of the various medical reasons that have been mentioned above.

Dr. Jenni Ervasti, the lead author, from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health has stated that some of the diseases or the treatment of those diseases prevent alcohol use which could explain the increased risks of sick leaves among people who don't consume alcohol.


She also further explained that people who experience health problems due to excessive alcohol drinking sometimes retire early than normal or even at times become unemployed. This could also be one of the reasons why the rate of alcoholics taking sick leaves is lesser than the people who don't drink alcohol at all.

The senior research associate at University College London, Dr. James Doidge, also said that there are chances that the results given may not even be as accurate as they seem to us. He has also stated that this study has shown that people who are completely away from alcohol skip work more often than the people who usually drink alcohol in moderation.

Further, he also stated that the most obvious explanation for this could be the reverse causality, that is, health problems lead people to drink less than they usually did and it is not the other way around.

The best evidence available with these researchers on the effects of consumption of alcohol is derived from genetic studies which, unfortunately, indicate that consumption of alcohol at any level increases your risk of health problems and may affect your fitness and might make you unfit.

It has also been advised to both men and women to make sure that they should drink lesser than 14 units of alcohol in one week which is estimated to be around six pints of beer or six glasses of wine and not more than that.

This limit should not be exceeded by any chance. If this limit is exceeded by any chance due to any reason, it might lead to your health being affected in an adverse way.

The director of research and policy development at Alcohol Research UK, Dr. James Nicholls has stated that the authors even found out that people who don't drink alcohol at all are more likely to be poor than the ones who drink alcohol, which is an extremely important factor to consider when talking about people falling sick.

However, it doesn't cover the short-term impacts on work, such as absence from work or reduction in productivity at work due to hangovers because of drinking in an excess amount the previous night.

Although the findings do not provide any concrete evidence that drinking alcohol is good for your health, they still do suggest that drinking in a moderate amount is not likely to lead you to skip your work because of any kind of illness.

Read more about: drinking alcohol health lifestyle diet
Story first published: Friday, June 8, 2018, 12:30 [IST]
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