One in five men risk alcoholism

Four in five people who abuse alcohol are also smokers, study shows

At least one in five men in developed countries could develop an alcohol addiction over their lifetime, according to a new U.S. study. Women experience about half the risk, with roughly a ten per cent chance of becoming alcohol dependent, Reuters reports. Published in the journal Lancet, the study notes that repeated heavy drinking ups the risk of temporary depression by 40 per cent, and that 80 per cent of alcoholics are regular smokers, too. Genes account for roughly 60 per cent of the risk of problem drinking, but the rest comes from environmental factors, researchers said, noting this could explain why women are at a lower overall risk. “This is a cultural issue. More women than men are lifelong abstainers. A higher proportion of women than men never open themselves to the possibility of alcoholism because they never or very rarely drink,” Dr. Marc Schuckit of the Veterans Afairs San Diego Healthcare System and the University of California told Reuters.