Is your country driving you to drink?

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Expats living in countries where binge drinking is accepted (or even encouraged) are more likely to do so themselves.

As it turns out, location has a major impact on peoples’ drinking habits.

A new study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research shows people from northern Europe are more likely to binge drink than those from southern Europe.

Dr. Jonas Landberg, a researcher with the Centre for Social Research on Drugs and lead author of the study, explained:

Northern European countries, where drinking into intoxication is more common, tend to have more alcohol-related problems and mortality per litre of alcohol consumed than southern European countries, where drinking is more mundane and integrated into everyday life.

His research was based on two general surveys of 5 countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and Italy. From the numbers he drew two major conclusions: 1) people who drink a lot are more likely to develop health problems, and 2) people who live in countries where being drunk is accepted, even encouraged, are… well… more likely to drink a lot.

As far as we can see, Landberg’s research should also apply to expats, given it hinges on living in a certain country and not being born and raised there. So, expats living in countries where binge drinking is common (we’re thinking specifically of Russia) are likelier to develop those habits themselves.

And really that’s not so shocking. Expats often strive to integrate into local culture in terms of language, food and other lifestyle habits. Why should drinking be any different?

We recommend that no matter where in the world you live, you stop for a moment and think about your average night out. Do you find yourself enjoying a couple glasses of wine or downing a bottle of Svedka?

Remember heavy drinking is linked to serious conditions such as cirrhosis of the liver. With a little thought, you may find there are certain local pastimes you’re better off avoiding.