Five Effects of Secondhand Drinking

Many alcoholics do not realize the impact their addiction has on the people around them. Through secondhand drinking, alcohol addiction affects friends, spouses and children, causing family problems and damaging relationships.

Secondhand drinking refers to how a person’s alcohol abuse and behavior negatively impact other people. In the United States, about one in five adults have reported experiencing harm due to another person’s behavior as a result of alcoholism.

Here are the five most common effects of secondhand drinking.

1. Harassment

Ethyl alcohol chemicals can alter the brain of those who consume excess amounts of alcohol. This can cause alcoholics to mistreat and sometimes harass others. Harassment can occur in the home, workplace or other environments where alcohol is involved.

2. Physical Assault

According to a study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, alcohol abuse can increase the probability of violent crime. Between 2002 and 2008, 21 percent of people convicted of violent crime reported being under the influence of alcohol.

3. Increased Risk of Traffic Accidents

Secondhand drinking increases the probability of death or injury due to a car accident. Family members in a vehicle with a drunk driver are at an increased risk. Alcohol causes blurred vision, limited depth perception and reduces muscle coordination and brain functioning. Drinking alcohol decreases your ability to react quickly and efficiently to whatever is happening on the road. In 2017 alone, almost 11,000 people were killed in alcohol-related accidents.

4. Marriage and Family Difficulties

Many family and marital issues stem from alcohol abuse. Couples in which one partner has an alcohol addiction experience significantly more negative interactions compared to couples that do not drink. Alcohol abuse can lead to many behaviors that put strain on a marriage, including legal problems, inability to contribute financially and neglect.

5. Financial Crisis

Alcoholism can induce financial hardship for families in which one or more people abuse alcohol. The cost of increased alcohol use can put families into financial crisis, including debt. An alcoholic is likely to neglect financial responsibilities like bills and car payments in favor of buying alcohol.

How Gateway Foundation Can Help

If you or someone you know suffers from secondhand drinking, know that you’re not alone. Our trained experts at Gateway Foundation recognize the harm that secondhand drinking has on family members, friends and loved ones. Contact Gateway Foundation to receive care if you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse.


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