American drinking habits reaching new risk levels, finds study

Posted on August 16th, 2017 in Alcohol Abuse, alcohol addiction, alcoholism

American drinking habits reaching new risk levels, finds study

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as a pattern that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08g/dL. This level of BAC typically happens when men consume five or more drinks and women consume four or more drinks within two hours. Though different individuals react differently to alcohol, based on factors like age, sex, physical condition, biological makeup and family history of alcohol use or abuse, the usual risks associated with binge drinking range from unintentional physical injuries, such as accidents and fights, and violent behaviour that may result in homicide, suicide and sexual assaults. The risks also involve physical health-related issues like high blood pressure, stroke, heart and liver diseases as well as death.

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 26.9 percent of adult Americans reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month while 7 percent admitted to have indulged in heavy alcohol use. Alcohol-related causes account for nearly 88,000 deaths annually, as highlighted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the past, many studies have been carried out to determine the risks of reckless drinking and the consequences that follow. A new study conducted by researchers at NIAAA has now highlighted the dangerous levels at which Americans are drinking and how it necessitates taking early intervention programs to reduce the negative consequences.

Binge drinking increasing among young adults

The study, that got published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) in June 2017, utilized the data from two segments of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). The surveys stated that between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, 42,748 and 36,083 adults, respectively, reported the maximum number of drinks they consumed on any day in the past year. Binge drinking was analyzed at three levels — level I, II and III — defined differently for men and women. Four to seven drinks, eight to 11 drinks and 12 or more drinks, respectively on a single occasion for women and five to nine drinks, 10 to 14 drinks and 15 or more drinks for men. It was found that 11 percent males reported level II drinking once in past year whereas 5 percent females stood at this level. Level III drinking was observed in seven percent males and three percent females at least once in past year.

The researchers observed an increase in alcohol use disorder (AUD), rate of arrests, injuries and alcohol-related traffic crash. A rise in the number of emergency visits was noticed among level II binge drinkers (70 times) and level III binge drinkers (93 times) when compared to non-binge drinkers. The results were prominent in participants who combined alcohol with other drugs particularly opioids or benzodiazepines. The researchers also observed that the standard binge thresholds in the past year were significantly higher in the most recent survey suggesting that more Americans are indulging in heavy drinking now. Aaron White, senior scientific advisor to the NIAAA Director said, “Drinking at such high levels can suppress areas of the brain that control basic life-support functions such as breathing and heart rate, thereby increasing one’s risk of death.”

Such concerns highlight the need for preventive measures to reduce the frequency of extreme binge drinking among young adults, who may develop a likeness and soon become the victim of devastating consequences. The researchers are hopeful that the study can pave way for future research to determine how high alcohol consumption levels can be valuable in screening for alcohol use and misuse and in assessing gender-specific risk factors.

Seek treatment for alcohol addiction

Seeking help in the first step toward recovery which is then followed by various other steps of treatment programs including detoxification, behavioral therapies and medication administered by trained clinical professionals. The Arizona Alcohol Addiction Helpline can provide you with the resources that you need in order to be more aware about the symptoms of alcohol addiction and get support at the earliest. Call our 24/7 helpline number (866) 671-1510 to know about state-of-the-art alcohol addiction treatment centers in Arizona or you can chat online with our medical representatives to find out the best alcohol addiction treatment clinic in Arizona.


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