Alcohol formula

Moderate drinkers at risk for alcohol problems if they binge, study finds

“This leaves many drinkers to mistakenly assume that a moderate average level of drinking is safe, regardless of drinking pattern,” said Rudolf Moos, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine. Medicine, in a press release.

Moos is the co-author of a recent study that found that many moderate drinkers over the age of 30 end up binging on weekends — defined as five or more drinks in a row or in a short period of time.

People who hustled were about five times more likely to have multiple drinking problems, such as “getting hurt, having emotional or psychological problems from drinking, having to drink more alcohol to get the same effect and feel the effects of alcohol at work, school or as a caregiver”. for children,” study co-author Charles Holahan, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, said in an email.

“This means that an individual whose total consumption is seven drinks on Saturday night has a higher risk profile than someone whose total consumption is one daily drink with dinner, even though their average consumption level is the same,” Holahan said.

Excessive alcohol consumption in adults

Most previous research on binge drinking has focused on the younger generation, typically teenagers and college students. Consuming multiple drinks in one sitting is common among this segment of the population. But statistics show that a good number of adults over 30 are heavy drinkers, and the problem is on the rise, especially among women and adults over 65.

Still, levels of binge drinking in adults may escape “public health scrutiny because they occur in people who drink at moderate average levels,” Holahan said. “Currently, heavy drinking among moderate drinkers goes largely undetected in primary care settings.”

Women are especially susceptible to the effects of alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol-related problems appear earlier and at lower levels of consumption than in men, said the NIAA.
Women are more susceptible to alcohol-related brain damage and heart disease than men, and studies show that women who drink one drink a day increase their risk of breast cancer by 5-9% compared to women. who abstain.

For men and women over 65, the increase “is particularly concerning because many older people use medications that can interact with alcohol, have health problems that can be exacerbated by alcohol, and may be more susceptible to alcohol-related falls”. and other accidental injuries,” the NIAA said.

A “neglected” model

The new study, published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, used survey data collected as part of the Midlife Development Study in the United States, which follows a national sample of Americans aged 25 to 74. since 1995.

The study analyzed nearly 1,300 drinkers over nine years and found that most cases of binge drinking — and multiple drinking problems — occurred in people who were average moderate drinkers.

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“An average moderate drinker of, say, one drink a day could reach that average by one daily drink with dinner or seven drinks on Saturday night,” Holahan said.

While this behavior doesn’t necessarily lead to alcoholism, Holahan said, the study found that drinking an average of more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men — or five or more drinks on the same occasion – was linked to alcohol problems nine years later.

“These findings underscore the need for alcohol interventions targeting moderate-middle level drinkers in addition to conventional strategies that focus on the higher-risk, but smaller, population of usually heavy drinkers,” Holahan said.

Is your drinking a problem?

How do you know if your drinking has become a problem? A telltale sign is when alcohol consumption begins to interfere with your ability to go about your daily life, experts say.

“Alcohol use disorder is defined as compulsive drinking despite the negative consequences of your drinking, such as impacting your relationships, your ability to function in your job, or in any roles you have in your community,” said Dr. Sarah Wakeman, MD. director of the Substance Use Disorders Initiative at Mass General Brigham told CNN in a previous interview.

Beware if you continue to drink despite the negative effects on your physical or mental health. And there’s no need to call in sick or work with a hangover, Dr. Leena Mittal, chief of the division of women’s mental health in the department of psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told CNN. .

“Don’t forget about relationships. Do you have more disagreements? Do people in your life express concerns or notice that you are different? Hiding your drinking or lying about it are also concerning behaviors,” Mittal said.

Here’s a red flag: you’re pouring big drinks without realizing it. Current American Heart Association guidelines call for no more than two standard drinks a day for men and one for women and anyone 65 and older.

What is a standard drink? That’s 12 ounces of regular beer, 4 ounces of regular wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor, by American standards.

“Yet people can pour out a huge goblet of wine and not realize it’s actually two or three servings of wine and not just one,” Wakeman said.

“We know millions of Americans are drinking above these levels, even in pre-pandemic times,” Wakeman said. “In 2019, some 66 million Americans had episodes where they drank more than the recommended limits.”

If you (or a loved one) seem to be having trouble with alcohol, don’t hesitate to seek help, experts point out. There are many different support groups that can help you, such as 12-step programs and individual therapy.