Alcohol Abuse More Likely When the Bar Is Close to Home

barA recent study asked the question, “Are neighborhood residents more likely to drink heavily if there is a bar on the corner, or do heavy drinkers move to neighborhoods that provide easy access to bars?” According to the results of the study published by the National Library of Medicine, it seems that drinking increases when there’s a bar near the patron’s home.

Does a nearby neighborhood bar contribute to the amount you drink?

The Study

The research was conducted in Finland, following more than 50,000 adults over a seven-year period. It found that those who moved closer to bars during that time were more likely to increase the number of times they drank per week and the amount they drank each time they patronized the bar.

For example, when a study participant moved a kilometer (0.6 miles) closer to a bar, he or she was 17 percent more likely to become a heavy drinker. A “heavy drinker” was defined for the purposes of the study as someone who drank more than 10 ounces a week (men) or 7 ounces a week (women). And whether the person moved closer to a bar, or bars showed up in neighborhoods after the participant moved in, the results were the same: an increase in heavy drinking.

Is a neighborhood bar a causative factor for alcohol abuse? No. But the distance from home to a local bar was shown to be linked to heavy drinking, according to the study.

What Tempts You to Drink?

If you are living with an addiction to alcohol, your drinking habits are unlikely to be affected by things like proximity to a bar. However, for those who are struggling with alcohol abuse or a binge drinking problem, there can be triggers or circumstances that increase the rate or amount of drinking. Many report that some issues that increase their drinking habits include:

  • Stress at work
  • Problems with a relationship or family member
  • Worry about the economy or social situations
  • Peer drinking habits
  • Work functions or social functions where large amounts of alcohol are available
  • Boredom
  • Grief or depression

Do you find that certain problems or stressors in your life cause you to drink more than normal? Leave us a comment below and share your experience with drinking, the situations that make it worse, and your attempts to get it under control.