Living alone may lead to death from alcohol abuse: Study

Researchers at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki found that two-thirds of people who died from an alcohol-related disease or accident were living alone.

The findings suggested that lack of social relationships should be regarded as a potential risk factor for death from alcohol related causes, they said.

They added that living alone was a very modern phenomenon that had weakened social relationships, with fewer people getting married or living in extended families, the Daily Mail reported.

The researchers, led by Kimmo Herttua from the Finnish Institute, analysed information from the 18,200 people who died as a result of alcohol between 2000 and 2007.

Causes of death included liver disease alcohol poisoning and accidents, as well as violence that involved alcohol.

The results showed that between 2000 and 2003 men who lived alone were 3.7 times more likely to die of liver disease compared to married or cohabiting men.

Between 2004 and 2007, this disparity had increased to five times the risk.

Women living alone were also at increased risk from alcohol-related deaths although the risk was smaller.

Writing in the journal PLoS Medicine, the researchers concluded: "Living alone is associated with a substantially increased risk of alcohol-related mortality, irrespective of gender, socioeconomic status, or the specific cause of death."

However, they said that further research was needed in other countries with different drinking cultures to confirm a general association.

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