Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Heavy drinkers consume less over time, but not at 'normal' levels, study finds

Date:
October 28, 2010
Source:
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Summary:
Problem drinkers in the general population may reduce the amount of alcohol they consume over a period of years but not to the level of the average adult, according to a new study.

Problem drinkers in the general population may reduce the amount of alcohol they consume over a period of years but not to the level of the average adult, according to a new study in the November issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Related Articles


Given that heavy drinkers often don't become "normal" drinkers on their own, the takeaway message for clinicians and family members is to help connect a problem drinker to a community social service agency or Alcoholics Anonymous. Simply telling someone that they had a drinking problem did not seem to be helpful in this study, but being specific about how to get help did.

Using a telephone screening program, researchers identified 672 problem and dependent drinkers who had not been in an alcohol treatment program for at least 12 months. Eleven years later, men in the study had reduced their average number of drinks per month by 51%, and women had reduced their average number of drinks by 57%. However, even after this reduction, male and female problem drinkers still consumed 160% and 223% more alcohol, respectively, than the average adult without a drinking problem.

The researchers point out that the greatest reductions in alcohol consumption occurred within one to two years after the initial screening and then slowed, suggesting that problem drinkers and heavy drinkers may never lower their consumption to the level of the general population.

"Most heavy drinkers maintain a steady level of heavy alcohol consumption over time," said lead researcher Kevin L. Delucchi, Ph.D., Professor of Biostatistics in Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. "It's pretty toxic, but somehow they manage to keep drinking at a fairly sustained level. Our people were functional, for the most part. They had addresses, a lot of them had insurance at baseline, and they're not at the 'bottom of the barrel,' which is interesting."

The researchers say their study is one of the first to examine heavy alcohol use in the general population. Most studies have focused on the most severe drinkers -- those who were already in a treatment program, said Delucchi.

"Not everyone who has an alcohol problem is in treatment or is in a program," said Delucchi. "People are out there on their own."

The researchers also examined which factors appeared to be linked with continued heavy drinking. Participants who received help from Alcoholics Anonymous or community social service agencies were likely to drink less. However, those who had heavy-drinking friends in their social network, received general suggestions that they do something about their drinking, and went to a formal treatment program were actually likely to drink more. Delucchi said they were unable to determine why formal treatment appeared to be linked with continued elevated drinking, although the researchers theorize that perhaps those who sought this type of treatment were likely to have experienced the greatest level of alcohol-related problems and, therefore, were more likely to have sought such treatment.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kevin L. Delucchi, Lee Ann Kaskutas. Following Problem Drinkers Over Eleven Years: Understanding Changes in Alcohol Consumption. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 2010; 71 (6): 831-836 [link]

Cite This Page:

Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. "Heavy drinkers consume less over time, but not at 'normal' levels, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101027111354.htm>.
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. (2010, October 28). Heavy drinkers consume less over time, but not at 'normal' levels, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101027111354.htm
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. "Heavy drinkers consume less over time, but not at 'normal' levels, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101027111354.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins