How the Weather Affects Rates of Alcohol Consumption

Woman looking out a window

Not only can the climate impact what you wear on any given day, but it may also play a role in how much alcohol you drink.

According to recent research, the climate can influence people to drink more alcohol. One study, in particular, has discovered a link between alcohol intake and alcohol misuse with lower temperatures and fewer hours of sunlight.

The study, which was published in the journal Hepatology and was conducted by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh, confirmed what has long been an assumption: that colder weather is connected with an increased intake of alcohol.

The researchers’ findings held true globally. No matter the location, cold temperatures and less sunlight can contribute to an increased intake of alcohol. Further, more cases of cirrhosis of the liver as a result of excessive alcohol consumption are also reported in colder climates.

On a local level, the study showed that people who live in Montana consume an average of 11.7 liters of alcohol per capita annually compared with those farther south in North Carolina, who consume an average of 7.8 liters. On a global level, those living in cold-climate Ukraine drink 13.9 liters of alcohol compared to people in Italy, who drink 6.7 liters.

What Is Responsible For This Link?

Why does a colder climate with less sunlight contribute to a higher risk of drinking alcohol in excess? One potential reason could be that individuals who live in colder parts of the country often drink alcohol to feel warmer.

Conversely, people who live in warmer climates might find that drinking too much alcohol can make them feel sick when combined with higher temperatures.

A more probable reason, however, could be that people who are subjected to cold weather and darker days might be more susceptible to feeling depressed. To counter these negative feelings, they may drink alcohol in an attempt to feel better.

Woman holding her arms out wide

What Do These Study Results Reveal?

The findings of this study are important in helping officials put the appropriate resources in place for those who need them. Such results can also be useful in helping people who have a family history of alcohol misuse to stay vigilant and consider their climate as a risk factor in developing the disease.

Considering this link, officials in colder parts of the world might consider increasing the prices of alcohol in an effort to make buying and consuming too much alcohol more difficult. Further, such findings may warrant stricter laws on marketing for alcohol brands to weaken the encouragement for drinking alcohol.

Getting Help For an Alcohol Use Disorder

If you have an alcohol use disorder, there is help available to you right now. No matter where you live, finding a local alcohol rehab center is just a phone call away. Contact The Recovery Village Palmer Lake today to find alcohol treatment programs near you.

How the Weather Affects Rates of Alcohol Consumption
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