A new study has shown that people who work longer hours are at a higher risk of alcoholism compared to those who clock off on time.
Those who work more than 55 hours a week are 13 per cent more likely to consume "risky" levels of alcohol as a way of relieving stress - scientists say this trend "cannot be ignored".
The study, which involved 330,000 people in 14 countries across Europe and is being published in the British Medical Journal, has sparked calls for employers to stick to EU limits on the length of the working week.
[Our study] supports the long-standing suspicion that among workers subjected to long working hours, alcohol can seem like a fast-acting and effective way to dull work-related aches and pains andsmooth the transition between work life and home life.
- Research team
The EU Working Time Directive says employees should not exceed 48 hours per week on average, including overtime.
Researchers found that the relationship between working hours and alcohol consumption is not affected by age, gender or socio-economic status but rather shift patters and working hours.
"Risky" levels of alcohol are deemed as more than 21 units of alcohol per week for men and more than 14 units per week for women.