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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Living Alone May Be Hazardous to Your Health

Can living alone be hazardous to one's health? It may be the case that living alone increases one's chance of dying from alcohol related disorders, according to a new study conducted in Finland. MSNBC reports that over a six year period in Finland, 18,200 people who died of alcohol-related causes, two-thirds lived alone. Either people are more likely to drink more when they live alone or people's alcohol problems were the cause of them having to live alone - it may very well be a combination of both. It is well known that people with substance abuse issues tend to be withdrawn from family, friends, and even society; it is not too surprising that the majority of people who lose their lives to substance abuse issues, lived their life alone free from the perceived judgement of their peers.

Researchers report that between 2000 and 2003:
  • Men living alone were 3.7 times more likely to die of liver disease than married men or men who lived with someone.
  • Women who lived alone were 1.7 times as likely to die of liver disease between 2000 and 2003.
Between 2004 and 2007:
  • Men were 4.9 times more likely to die of liver disease than married men or men who lived with someone.
  • Women who lived alone were 2.4 times as likely between 2004 and 2007, compared with women who lived with someone.

The increase of deaths with people who lived alone may have to do with the decrease of alcohol prices that started in 2004. The cheaper alcohol is the easier it is for people to acquire; people are more tempted to buy something especially when there has been a reduction in price. A number of countries, have begun raising the price of alcohol in order to help fight alcoholism; unfortunately, raising the price of alcohol may encourage indigent addicts to commit crimes to afford their habit.

It is no coincidence that people who find recovery are more successful when they live with other people and have a close knit social network of people fighting for the same cause. Recovering addicts who isolate are much more likely to drift back into addictive behavior patterns that typically lead to relapse and even death.

PLos Medicine

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