Study: Workaholics are riskier drinkers

A new study found people who work long hours are more likely to increase their alcohol consumption to levels that pose a health risk.

The study, published in the journal BMJ, found that people who worked 49 hours a week were up to 13 percent more likely to engage in risky alcohol use compared to those who worked 35 to 40 hours.

Risky alcohol use is defined as consuming more than 14 drinks per week for women and more than 21 drinks per week for men. Risky alcohol use can put drinkers at an increased risk of various health problems, such as liver disease, cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, mental disorders and injuries, according to the study.

Researchers had some theories as to why workaholics are riskier drinkers, including that drinking helped relieve the stress of their working conditions and people with sleep problems might need more hours to finish their work and be more inclined to drink.

The researchers looked at a variety of surveys on alcohol consumption and work habits and found a few other interesting tidbits. One survey found one-third of workers admitted to going to work with a hangover and 15 percent said they have been drunk on the job.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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