Being around heavy drinkers may take a health toll

Reuters Fri, Feb 4 2011
If you have a heavy drinker in your life, your own health and well-being could suffer because of it, new research suggests. The study of more than 3,000 New Zealanders showed that people with a family member, friend or colleague who drank heavily generally gave lower ratings to their own health and well-being. Compared to people who didn’t have heavy drinkers in their lives, those who did had lower scores on standard measures of general health — things like chronic pain, anxiety and depression symptoms — and overall satisfaction with life. The average effect was similar to what’s been seen in studies of people caring for someone with a disability, according to lead researcher Dr. Sally Casswell, of Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand. The findings, reported in the journal Addiction, do not prove that being around a heavy drinker was the root of study participants’ problems.