In recent years, the research community has revealed that alcohol is responsible for several different cancers, it is not heart-healthy – despite popular opinion to the contrary, and abuse of alcohol can lead to varying degrees of developmental, emotional and cognitive problems. And now a different research team had determined that poor people are at especially high risks for these problems. This is likely because they do not have access to proper medical care, are more likely to suffer from emotional problems and may also have other problems that are exacerbated by excessive alcohol use.

“Our study finds that the poorest in society are at greater risk of alcohol’s harmful impacts on health, but this is not because they are drinking more or more often binge drinking. Experiencing poverty may impact on health, not only through leading an unhealthy lifestyle but also as a direct consequence of poor material circumstances and psychosocial stresses,” said Dr. Vittal Katikireddi, lead author of the study.

The study showed that while poor people often drink less than wealthier people, they are still more likely to experience negative health effects connected with their drinking. In fact, they are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with a problem related to alcohol consumption. This is important information because reinforces the need to engage in early intervention efforts with those that exhibit potentially dangerous relationships with alcohol.

One of the most effective ways to prevent alcohol-related diseases and health problems is to eliminate or greatly reduce one’s alcohol intake. But, because alcohol consumption is so common in most cultures, it can be difficult to determine when someone has crossed the line from drinking socially, to drinking in excess. Some of the indicators to look for, according to researchers, is binge drinking, drinking excessively when no one is around, hiding the amount of alcohol one is consuming, and engaging in risky behavior while under the influence of alcohol.

Health organizations and local government can also help prevent alcohol-related illness, especially among the poor, by increasing alcohol abuse awareness and helping to rid the community of the social and economic problems that may cause someone to drink excessively.