Alcohol use is more commonplace than ever

Alcohol use has become a part of everyday life, and it affects us all. The majority of Finnish men and women use alcohol. Most of them use it in moderation and are therefore not expected to suffer from any harmful effects.

Alcohol consumption in Finland is at the average European level, but binge drinking is a major problem. Over the past 10 years, overall alcohol consumption has remained roughly unchanged or even decreased slightly.

Nevertheless, the harmful effects of alcohol consumption have increased. These manifest themselves as various symptoms and illnesses, resulting in a reduced ability to work or function in daily life. The mental and financial burden of problem use is also great for the users and their friends and families. It is difficult for the closest people to know how to act in problematic situations, since committing to treatment is hampered by shame and efforts to hide the problem.

There is a clear connection between the amount consumed and the harmful effects of alcohol: the latter increase when consumption goes up.

500,000 at risk

Alcohol is a major cause of death among working-age people. It is estimated that there are 500,000 people in Finland for whom alcohol use poses a health risk. Around 10% of female patients and almost 20% of male patients using healthcare services are problem users of alcohol.

Source: Current Care Guidelines 2015.

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