It’s a familiar feeling of dread experienced by anyone who smokes or drinks: as they sit down opposite their doctor for a routine medical examination or to discuss a problem that has arisen, the inevitable question is asked – “Do you drink or smoke?” The patient knows that heavy drinking and smoking is bad for their health, yet their dependency on either substance overrides any willpower that would prompt them to quit.
Alcohol.org, a leading provider of addiction treatment resources and recovery information, conducted a survey of 3,000 Americans age 21 and over and found that shockingly, more than 1 in 4 (28%) admit they would ignore their doctor’s advice to cut down on their alcohol consumption. Given that a recent study found that any amount of alcohol is damaging to the brain, it begs to question – is liquor more important than life?
When broken down across states, it was found those in Louisiana appear to be the most dismissive of their doctor’s advice with 57% saying this was the case. Comparatively, only 13% of those in Wyoming admit to doing this.
The full set of results can be found below:
Worryingly, it was also found that more than 1 in 5 (21%) say they have lied to their doctor about how much alcohol they consume. Further analyzed, men (60%) were more likely to lie about their drinking habits to their doctor, as compared to women (40%).
Further, 31% of respondents say they ignore medical advice to stop drinking while taking certain medications. With some treatment courses, such as antibiotics, the reason alcohol should be avoided is because its interaction with certain medication cause unpleasant side effects. If a patient is prescribed sleeping or anxiety medication, for example, alcohol can exacerbate side effects of drowsiness and may cause others, like dizziness or nausea.
It appears some are unconvinced by this information as 1 in 10 say they are sceptical of medical professionals, or studies which say alcohol is bad for you.
And it turns out people aren’t just fudging the truth to their physicians – the study from Alcohol.org found that 1 in 5 (20%) also admit to being dishonest with friends and family about their drinking habits.