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Moderate Alcohol Consumption Can Increase the Risk of Injury

In a doctoral thesis authored by a researcher from the Karolinska Institute, a Swedish medical university, it was found that most alcohol-related incidents tend to occur after drinking a moderate amount of alcoholic beverages. The said thesis was written by Herve Kuendig and investigated the relation of injury and alcohol intake.

According to the background of the thesis, while the link between heavy alcohol intake and traffic accidents and violence has already been established, little is still known about the potential damage that moderate drinking can cause. To create a more comprehensive picture of the consequences of normal consumption (that is 1-3 glasses of liquor), Kuendig studied the cases of injuries addressed at an Accident & Emergency unit in Switzerland in relation to alcohol consumption. He interviewed patients who came in to obtain treatment for violence- or accident-related injuries.

According to the results of his study, “one in four of the injuries dealt with by the A&E unit had occurred after the consumption of alcohol, but also that this ratio varied widely at different times.” More than 80% of the cases that occurred on a weekend (Friday and Saturday night) were related to alcohol.

The results also show that the risk of incurring injury also tends to go up even when the individual consumed a small amount of alcohol. Understandably, there was a higher injury risk for people who consumed more than the recommended amount of alcohol as compared to those who drank moderately. But what was interesting is that most of the injury cases related to alcohol occurred after the patients drank within the recommended limit.

“My results suggest that preventative measures shouldn’t be directed exclusively at individual high-volume consumers,” said Kuendig. “The greatest benefit, in terms of injury-avoidance, can be gained from structural measures that affect the normal consumption of alcohol in society.”

Kuendig’s research was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), the Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Problems (SIPA), the Swiss Federal Office for Public Health (FOPH) and the Alcohol Treatment Center at the Lausanne University Hospital.

Learn more about this study and other alcohol treatment-related research here at Miramar. Miramar Recovery Centers specializes in individual approaches to alcohol and drug abuse treatment. We take pride in constantly updating our services according to industry advancements to further help our clients through sustainable sobriety.