“There is strong and consistent evidence that James Bond has a chronic alcohol consumption problem at the ‘severe’ end of the spectrum. He should seek professional help and try to find other strategies for managing occupational stress.”
Medical Journal of Australia (December 2018)
There could be no James Bond without the “shaken not stirred” thing. That line is iconic. But a new study published in the Medical Journal of Australia casts a shadow on all this booze, saying Bond displayed “severe alcohol use disorder” over the course of six decades and 24 movies. No shit? Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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The study authors found that, in his entire onscreen career, Bond drank 109 times. His most excessive outing was when he downed six Vespers and raised his blood alcohol level to approximately 0.36 grams per decilitre in Quantum of Solace.
That would be “enough to kill some people,” the scientists concluded.
Bond’s actions, including binge drinking, driving after drinking, fighting after drinking, having sex after drinking, and operating nuclear machinery after drinking, satisfied more than half of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 criteria for alcohol use disorder.
“This seems like a good time to remind everyone that James Bond is a made-up person. He has been young and sprightly since 1962. He goes through cocktails, cars, and women at a comical rate. He is in no way a role model for a healthy lifestyle. He is not real,” write Sarah Rense.
According to the lead study author, this Bond study was intended to be fun. It won a Christmas competition held by the Medical Journal of Australia. Are you laughing yet?
Risk reduction strategies that Bond could consider
Ideally, Bond should urgently seek professional help for his drinking. But a few potential interim strategies might minimise his risks in the short-term.
He should avoid drinking on the job, in particular when anticipating a gunfight or if he is likely to be drugged (as these are problems he frequently encounters).
Complex tasks, including aerial combat in helicopter gunships and deactivation of nuclear weapons, are best done with a zero blood alcohol level.
He should avoid drinking with sexual partners who may want to disable, capture or kill him, as 9 of 60 (15%) have attempted to do so in the past.
Not drinking can also help when negotiating delicate conversations with new partners about barrier contraception and sharing sexually transmitted disease histories.
Partners who drink should not smoke in bed (eg, Tiffany Case in Diamonds Are Forever, 1971), as this is a ﬁre risk. Further, Bond should neither allow knives in bed (eg, Jinx) nor hide guns under pillows.
Addicts fetishize their object of desire and its context. Bond should therefore be mindful of how he exhibits his encyclopaedic knowledge of alcohol (vintages, design of cocktails etc.) when aiming to project an image as a connoisseur or to show off his expensive tastes.
Bond should instead try to cultivate a more detached perspective and to develop alternative interests; eg, his nascent interests in lepidopterology (study of moths and butterflies) revealed when commenting expertly on M’s collection.
Creating a more supportive environment for Bond
Bond’s workplace (MI6) should be a more responsible employer by referring him to work-funded counselling or psychiatric support services for managing his alcohol use disorder.
These services should also determine whether he has any post-traumatic stress after killing so many people and having been tortured so often (eg, in Casino Royale, Spectre).
Similarly, the workplace culture needs to change; to start with, M should no longer offer Bond drinks in work place settings.
Further, MI6 management needs to redefine Bond’s job to reduce his stress levels.
More ﬁeld support and a stronger team approach are needed so that his duties do not weigh as heavily upon him.
This may reduce his need to take excessive individual responsibility for mission success, and lessen his drive to pursue missions when off duty (ie, as a rogue agent and personal vendettas.
More training in how to negotiate with enemies may also reduce the need for killing them, as might MI6 placing limitations on his“licence to kill”.
MEDINT — James Bond Has a Severe Chronic Alcohol Problem