website free tracking Does South Korea have a high alcoholism rate? - Namhan South Korea

Does South Korea have a high alcoholism rate?


South Korea is well known for its heavy drinking culture, where alcohol is often consumed as part of social activities and business affairs. However, there have been concerns about the potential negative effects of this drinking culture. This article aims to explore whether South Korea has a high alcoholism rate and what factors contribute to this.

History of Alcohol Consumption in South Korea

The history of alcohol consumption in South Korea dates back to ancient times when alcohol was consumed during religious ceremonies. However, drinking became more widespread during the Japanese occupation and Korean War. In the 1960s, the government encouraged drinking as a means of promoting economic development. Today, South Koreans consume an average of 13.7 liters of alcohol per person per year, which is one of the highest rates in the world.

Alcoholism Defined

Before we can determine if South Korea has a high alcoholism rate, we must first define what alcoholism is. Alcoholism is a chronic disease characterized by a strong desire to consume alcohol despite negative consequences. It can lead to physical and mental health problems, relationship issues, and financial difficulties.

Alcoholism Rates in South Korea

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), South Korea has an alcoholism rate of 10.9%, which is higher than the global average of 6.2%. However, it is important to note that this figure only takes into account those who meet the clinical definition of alcoholism and does not include those who may be heavy drinkers but do not meet this definition.

Factors Contributing to High Alcoholism Rates

There are several factors that contribute to high alcoholism rates in South Korea. These include cultural norms that encourage drinking as part of social activities and business affairs, stress from work and school, and easy access to alcohol.

Health Effects of Alcoholism

Alcoholism can have serious health effects, including liver disease, heart disease, and cancer. It can also lead to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

Government Response to High Alcoholism Rates

The South Korean government has implemented several measures to address the high alcoholism rates in the country. These include increasing taxes on alcohol, restricting alcohol sales at certain times, and promoting non-alcoholic beverages as an alternative.

Alternatives to Drinking Culture

In recent years, there has been a movement towards alternative activities that do not involve drinking. This includes the rise of non-alcoholic bars and cafes, as well as outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling.

Alcoholism Treatment in South Korea

There are several treatment options available for those struggling with alcoholism in South Korea. These include counseling, support groups, and medication-assisted treatment.

Stigma Surrounding Alcoholism

Despite efforts to address alcoholism in South Korea, there is still a stigma surrounding the disease. Many people are hesitant to seek treatment due to fears of being labeled an alcoholic or facing discrimination.

International Comparisons

When compared to other countries in the world, South Korea has one of the highest alcohol consumption rates. However, it is important to note that cultural and societal factors play a significant role in these differences.


In conclusion, South Korea does have a high alcoholism rate when compared to the global average. This is due to several factors, including cultural norms and easy access to alcohol. However, efforts are being made to address this issue through government policies and alternative activities. It is important to continue promoting awareness and understanding of alcoholism in order to reduce its negative impact on individuals and society as a whole.

Do South Koreans drink a lot of alcohol?

A 2018 report from the World Health Organization states that the average person in South Korea drinks 16 liters of alcohol per year. The drinking culture in South Korea involves drinking shots instead of sipping slowly.

Is there a big drinking culture in Korea?

Koreans have a tradition of drinking alcohol during significant holidays and seasons, such as New Year, Rice Planting, and Day of Thanks. The drinking rituals involve showing respect for ancestors and elders and have been practiced since before 1000 AD when foreign influences brought alcohol to Korea’s shores.

Why do Koreans turn away when drinking?

In Korean culture, it is customary to show respect to elders while drinking by turning your head away from them when taking a sip, rather than facing them directly.

Why do Koreans can’t drink alcohol?

A lack of aldehyde dehydrogenase is prevalent in the Chinese, Korean, and Japanese populations. Some individuals inherit two faulty genes for this enzyme, one from each parent, which results in their liver producing a defective version of the enzyme. This condition is common in these populations.

Which country has the hardest drinkers?

Belarus has the highest consumption of pure alcohol per capita in the world and also has a drinking pattern that poses a high risk, according to classification.

Who drinks more Japanese or Korean?

According to the World Health Organization, residents of South Korea are the heaviest drinkers in Asia. On average, South Koreans over the age of 15 consume 10.9 liters of alcohol per year, far more than any other country in terms of per capita consumption.

One additional factor that contributes to high alcoholism rates in South Korea is the widespread availability of cheap alcohol. In many parts of the country, it is possible to buy alcohol 24 hours a day from convenience stores and street vendors. This makes it easy for people to drink excessively, particularly during social events where heavy drinking is encouraged.

Another issue that exacerbates alcoholism in South Korea is the lack of support for those struggling with addiction. While there are treatment options available, many people do not seek help due to a lack of understanding from family and friends or a fear of losing their job. There is also a shortage of trained professionals who can provide comprehensive care for those with alcoholism.

Despite these challenges, there are some promising developments in the fight against alcoholism in South Korea. The government has recently launched a campaign to promote healthier drinking habits, including encouraging people to drink more slowly and switch to non-alcoholic beverages. Additionally, there are now more resources available for those seeking help, including online support groups and anonymous hotlines.

It is important to recognize that reducing alcoholism rates in South Korea will require a multi-faceted approach that addresses both cultural and structural factors. This could include implementing stricter regulations on alcohol sales, promoting alternative social activities, and increasing access to affordable addiction treatment. By taking action now, we can help ensure a healthier future for all South Koreans.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top