A long work week can only lead to higher levels of stress, it can also lead you to drink more than is considered healthy. A new study shows that those who work over 40 hours a week are 13% more likely to consume alcohol in larger than normal amounts. Those who worked the regular 40 hours a week and less were much less prone to drinking in such large amounts.
It's important to define what exactly is considered a normal level of alcohol consumption. For women average alcohol consumption would be 14 or less drinks per week, and for men it would be 21 or less drinks a week. Consuming more than the normal amount for your gender begins to put you at risk for numerous health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.
It's interesting to note that drinking and working have traditionally gone hand in hand. Studies done on the link between adult workers and drinking show that one third of employees say they have gone in to work hungover, and another 15% admit they have been intoxicated while they were on the job.
Ironically, drinking more than the recommended amount can hurt your job performance, leading to more sick days, impaired performance, and even putting one's safety in the work environement at risk. Despite these links, researchers are still not quite sure why drinking more alcohol seems to go along with working a full time job. The studies were done in countries around the globe.
Some theories about why this worldwide trend exists point to workers' dissatisfaction with their jobs and overwhelming workloads. Workers across the globe seem to be using alcohol as a way to cope with the stress and disappointment that they experience on a daily basis. Another theory is that the type of people who work long, hard hours are the types who also like to go to extremes during their time off.
The type of people who work extra hours could also be depressed, anxious, or having difficulty at their jobs, which in turn leads them to drink more off the clock. It's unfortunate that the studies done on the link between drinking and working were not able to unearth any of the psychological reasons people turn to alcohol.
Because there is a tendency for people to underestimate their drinking levels, especially when participating in a study, researchers think that the number of workers abusing alcohol may be even higher than what the results of the studies say.
It's important to know what the signs of alcoholism and workaholism are so that you can recognize them in others, and even in yourself.
Signs of alcoholism include:
- feeling guilty about your drinking habits
- lying about or hiding your drinking
- having family or friends who are concerned about your drinking
- craving a drink in order to relax or feel better
- blacking out while drinking
- drinking more than you originally intended to
Signs of workaholism may include:
- not being able to delegate work to others because you want to do it all yourself
- neglecting the parts of your life that are not part of work, including family members, friends, hobbies, and other non work responsibilities
- trying to incorporate other parts of your life into your work life
- you spend more time working than co workers
- your physical health begins to decline as a result of all the work you do