Study: People who don’t drink tend to take more sick days

Having a hangover at work is the worst. You think to yourself, why did I do this? A new study finds that people who abstain from drinking tend to take more sick days than moderate drinkers.

Illustrator: Ashley Siebels

Having a hangover at work is the worst. You think to yourself, why did I do this?

There is a good chance you probably have even stayed home from work when your hangover was especially awful. You think about your coworker who never drinks and assume they never have to take sick days and probably knit sweaters for orphans in their spare time. You also think they must be in perfect health because they don’t drink the poison that is alcohol.

Well, according to a new study, you would be wrong.

The study, published in the journal Addiction, took an analysis of 47,000 people in Europe and their drinking habits. The participants were put into five groups including those who never drink to major drinkers.

Surprisingly they found that it was the sober ones who were often more absent from work because they were sick more. See, drinking is good for you! Not really, but it is surprising data. Non-drinkers were found to have a higher risk of absence due to mental disorders, muscle and skeletal disorders, and respiratory and digestive diseases.

Don’t drink and work

However, before you install a Don Draper bar in your office you should know the study also found that these people were at more risk to be absent due to injury or poisoning.

Jenni Ervasti from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health said of the findings, “Some diseases, or their treatment, prevent alcohol use, which may explain the excess risks among abstainers,” she said. “Moreover, participants to whom at-risk drinking causes health problems may be selected out from the labor market, that is, if they retire early or become unemployed. Then, the adverse effects are not seen in absence from work due to illness.”

Have fun at your next happy hour!

Meredith Lepore|is the Deputy Editor of Ladders and can be reached at mlepore@theladders.com.