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Factors affecting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm - Part 4: Socioeconomic status and cultural context

Factors affecting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm – Part 4: Socioeconomic status and cultural context

22 March | 0 Comments | By Rachael

According to several surveys and mortality studies based on the factors that contribute to alcohol-related harm, especially within the developed countries, people from higher socioeconomic groups consume more alcohol, engage in more drinking sessions and exhibit higher low-risk drinking patterns, compared to the people from the lower socioeconomic groups. On the contrary, it is quite interesting to note that people from the lower socioeconomic groups include more individuals who abstain from drinking alcohol.

While measuring the degree of risk for alcohol-related harms, one should take into account several factors, such as age, gender, familial considerations, socioeconomic status (SES), behavior and other alcohol-related features (volume, patterns and quality of alcohol).

Though many of the abstainers are from the lower economic strata, they are more susceptible to the repercussions of drinking. The marked changes in the physical, cultural and socioeconomic contexts also lead to drinking problems and other adverse problems.

To spread awareness on the role of external factors in increasing the risk of developing drinking problems, the current article as part of the series “Factors affecting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm” highlights the key socioeconomic and cultural factors that cause alcohol addiction.

Differences in drinking patterns in SES groups

As mentioned above, people coming from lower SES are likely to be more susceptible to the consequences of drinking. For instance, manual workers are more vulnerable to severe alcohol-related health consequences and mortality compared to nonmanual workers with similar drinking patterns. In addition, such vulnerabilities seem to permeate down to the generations that follow. Some explanation for higher vulnerabilities among lower SES groups are:

  • People from lower SES groups are potentially more susceptible to alcohol-related harms due to the availability of lesser resources to avoid the adverse consequences of drinking.

On the contrary, people from higher SES have more authority in choosing safer environments to engage in drinking, better access to high-quality health care services, etc. In fact, access to health care services explains SES-related differences in survival rates after treatment or hospitalization for alcohol-related harms.

  • Individuals from lower SES groups have a smaller extensive support network compared to those from higher SES groups. There are fewer factors or people to motivate people in lower SES groups to direct them toward addressing alcohol-related problems before they occur.
  • Though individuals from lower SES groups drink less, they drink excessively during the drinking sessions. Such “all or nothing” drinking patterns contribute to the overall alcohol-related harms witnessed by lower SES groups.

Globalization, market liberalization, and increase in opulence among SES groups has expanded the reach of alcohol, particularly in lower SES groups in growing economies. These factors have significantly increased the consumption of alcohol and the risk of alcohol-related burden of disease worldwide. Furthermore, the instances of marginalization and stigmatization of people with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) have also elevated the social burden across SES groups in both developed and developing countries.

Under some circumstances, people are susceptible to alcohol-related consequences, such as injury or even death, irrespective of the volume of alcohol consumed, such as prior to driving a motor vehicle or flying an airplane. Moreover, the consumption of alcohol in many countries may have serious social or legal consequences due to the laws and regulations along with cultural or religious norms in place.

Alcohol is temporary fun with myriad consequences

Many other factors, such as low awareness on the treatment for alcohol-related problems, gender differences, disparities between ethnicities, etc., augment the consequences of drinking. As such, anyone can develop the problem of alcohol addiction, regardless of nationality, religion, gender, etc.

People who have succumbed to alcohol abuse still have a way out of their predicament. Though quitting alcohol is a colossal task, one of the viable options for embracing sobriety is by undergoing an effective detox treatment program in specialized facilities.

If you or your loved one is battling with alcohol addiction, it is imperative to seek professional help from the Detox Facilities Texas to access a holistic detoxification program through the best rapid detox centers in Texas. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-671-4308 or chat online with our medical representatives to know more about detox centers in Texas.

Other articles of the series:

Factors affecting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm – Part 1: Age

Factors affecting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm- Part 2: Gender

Factors affecting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm – Part 3: Familial risk factors