High rates may boil down to stress, study shows

Aug 03, 2011

Stress is closely tied to alcohol, which is a key factor increasing one's insurance rates.

Life insurance companies generally cite poor health habits to increase policyholders' rates. It's one thing to feel hopelessly present in one of those categories, but recent research shows there may be a simpler escape. Most know stress can encourage alcohol consumption, but it may also be a vicious cycle.

The specifics behind the effect stress has on alcohol are somewhat startling. Stress, according to ScienceDaily, can cause consumers to not only drink, but drink more. "If stress reduces the intoxicating effects of alcohol, individuals may drink more alcohol to produce the same effect," University of Chicago researcher Emma Childs told the source.

The flip side is that alcohol can inhibit the body's natural production of cortisol - a defensive hormone - and make people more vulnerable to the stress that inspired the drink to begin with.

Drug and alcohol use is one of seven primary factors influencing life insurance rates, according to the London Free Press. Other contributors include family history, driving record, travel and hobbies.

Alcohol consumption can be difficult to control, but addressing peripheral elements of an individual's personality can yield improvements in the areas most harmful to one's life insurance rates.

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