Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Early drinking linked to higher lifetime alcoholism risk

05.07.2006
Data from a survey of 43,000 U.S. adults heighten concerns that early alcohol use, independent of other risk factors, may contribute to the risk of developing future alcohol problems. Those who began drinking in their early teens were not only at greater risk of developing alcohol dependence at some point in their lives, they were also at greater risk of developing dependence more quickly and at younger ages, and of developing chronic, relapsing dependence. Among all respondents who developed alcoholism at some point, almost half (47 percent) met the diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence (alcoholism) by age 21.

The associations between early drinking and later problems held even after investigators controlled for other risk factors for dependence, adding to concerns that drinking at a young age might raise the risk of future alcohol problems rather than being an identifying feature of young people predisposed to risky behavior. The study appears in the July issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Volume 160, pages 739-746.

Elias Zerhouni, M.D., director of the NIH, said, "This is a very good example of how insights gained from health research can inform public policy. Converging research suggests that youthful drinking is associated with an increased risk of long-term, not just acute, health consequences.¨

Scientists at the Boston University School of Public Health and Youth Alcohol Prevention Center, led by Dr. Ralph Hingson,* carried out the analysis using data from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), a representative survey of the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population aged 18 years and older.

NESARC involved face to face interviews with adults ages 18 and older. The survey used questions based on diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence from the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). In the study, "starting to drink" meant the age when respondents first drank alcohol, not counting tastes or sips.

NIAAA Director Dr. Ting-Kai Li said "this work underscores the need for research to clarify how early drinking relates to the risk of lifetime alcohol problems. In particular, it is important to learn whether early alcohol use may affect the developing brain in ways that increase vulnerability to dependence."

In results that echo earlier studies, of those individuals who began drinking before age 14, 47 percent experienced dependence at some point, vs. 9 percent of those who began drinking at age 21 or older. In general, each additional year earlier than 21 that a respondent began to drink, the greater the odds that he or she would develop alcohol dependence at some point in life. While one quarter of all drinkers in the survey started drinking by age 16, nearly half (46 percent) of drinkers who developed alcohol dependence began drinking at age 16 or younger.

New findings showed that among all drinkers, early drinking was associated not only with a higher risk of developing alcoholism at some point, but also within 10 years of first starting to drink, before age 25, and within any year of adult life. Early drinking was also associated with increased risk of having multiple episodes of alcoholism. Further, among respondents who had had alcohol dependence at some point, those who began drinking young had episodes of longer duration and with a wider range of symptoms than those who started later.

Previous research has established the link between early onset of drinking and lifetime diagnosis of alcoholism. Key to understanding the relationship between early drinking and alcoholism risk is whether the act of drinking while young raises lifetime risk, or whether early drinking reflects an underlying predisposition for risky behavior in particular young people. In the latter case, early drinking would be considered a marker identifying individuals already at risk for developing alcoholism. In this study, investigators attempted to account for factors--such as family history of alcoholism, childhood antisocial behavior and depression, and smoking and drug use--known to be associated with higher risk. Even controlling for a number of risk factors and the effects of age differences among respondents, early drinking was associated with an increased risk of lifetime alcohol diagnosis.

In calculating the impact of early drinking on the risk of experiencing alcoholism, the study used statistical methods that account for the fact that older respondents have had a longer window of opportunity to develop alcoholism than younger respondents. The risk of those who began drinking before age 14 was multiplied by a factor (or "hazard ratio") of 1.78 relative to those who started drinking at age 21 or older.

The recently released 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey--conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention--found that among high school students nationwide, 26 percent had drunk alcohol (other than a few sips) for the first time before age 13.

The authors conclude that the results of both studies support the need to take measures to delay alcohol consumption by underage youth. Dr. Hingson said, "This analysis suggests that interventions that delay drinking onset may not only reduce the acute consequences of drinking among youth, but may help reduce alcohol dependence among adolescents and adults. It's an important public health issue for longitudinal research to resolve."

Charlotte Armstrong | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nih.gov
http://www.niaaa.nih.gov

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism
19.01.2018 | Weill Cornell Medicine

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Thanks for the memory: NIST takes a deep look at memristors

22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Radioactivity from oil and gas wastewater persists in Pennsylvania stream sediments

22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent

22.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks Wissenschaft & Forschung
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>