Social drinkers take fewer days off sick

The researchers of the Institute of professional health of Finland conducted the experiment and calculated the impact of alcohol on the human health. Moderate drinkers, it appeared, were less likely to miss work compared to both the aforementioned groups.

Overall, people who reported being tee-total for several years were absent from work due to illness more often than those who drank moderately, defined as 11 units a week for women and 34 for men.

The most likely explanation is that those suffering from ill health tend to drink less - not the other way around. Information regarding absences was obtained from the national and employer registry reports.

Lead author of the study, Jenni Ervasti from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, said the findings demonstrate the different types of illnesses tee-totalers and heavy drinkers are susceptible to.

One would think that cutting off alcohol can do wonders with work attendance, but researchers say that abstaining isn't necessarily the answer.

The team notes some people may not drink alcohol because they have other conditions or take medications that you can not mix with booze.

Women who were classified as heavy drinkers consumed more than 11 servings of alcohol, while men who were considered to be heavy drinkers consumed at least 34 servings of alcohol.

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. She adds that there are diseases or treatments that prohibit alcohol use, and this can explain the additional risks of a number of abstainers.

The results showed that people who were classified as non-drinkers came from a poorer background which could relate to more sickness and less work.

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

Heavy drinkers were 21 percent more likely than moderate drinkers to take a mental health-related absence and 44 percent more likely to not work because of injury or poisoning.

This recent study has its limitation, though, particularly since it observed participants in Europe where people have different drinking habits than in the United States. The data on drinking was also self-reported, which can increase the risk of inaccuracies.

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