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Friday, November 9, 2018

High-Volume Alcohol Use is Risky

alcohol use
Experts in the field of addiction medicine understand that there is no safe amount of alcohol. While one can imbibe the substance moderately and experience few, if any, problems, research continues to show that even occasional drinkers are at significant risk of health problems.

At Celebrate Hope, we use this platform to shine a light on drug and alcohol use with the intention of helping young people make informed decisions about substance use. Many factors determine who will experience issues with drug and alcohol use, but there are certain behaviors that experts believe elevate an individual's likelihood of developing a use disorder.

When it comes to alcohol – the most popular drug worldwide – heavy episodic use is associated with increasing one’s risk of developing an alcohol use disorder. Teenage and young adult binge-drinking is also a common trend among individuals who often go on to experience problems later in life. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above; typically, when men consume 5 or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours. People who drink heavily put themselves at a higher risk of alcoholism and alcohol-related health problems.

The Risks of High-Volume Drinking


Impressing the dangers of alcohol use upon young people is vital. It is fair to say that too many young adults fail to see the harm in high-volume drinking. A new group of studies shows that many college students do not grasp the specific behaviors and risk factors associated with alcohol-induced memory loss, otherwise known as ‘blackouts or brownouts,’ according to a Brown University press release. The findings come from three separate studies appearing in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, the journal Addictive Behaviors, and in the journal of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

"We don't yet know what long-term effects having a blackout or repeated blackouts has on the brain," said Kate Carey, a professor with the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown's School of Public Health. "We do know that having alcohol-related memory impairment is associated with other negative consequences." The consequences include:
  • Hangovers
  • Missed Classes
  • Fights
  • Sexual Assault
  • Overdoses
  • Mental Health Problems
The research shows that forty-nine percent of participating college students experience blackouts and brownouts in the past month, according to the press release. Brownouts were found to be more common than blackouts, 32% compared 5%.

“Studies like these, addressing attitudes toward blackout drinking as well as what students know and do not know about blackouts, give us clues about how we might intervene to reduce this high-risk outcome,” said Jennifer Merrill, an assistant professor of behavioral and social sciences at Brown who was involved in the studies. “This work helps us to identify where there is room to correct any misconceptions students have about the causes and consequences of blackouts.”

 

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment


Again, there is no safe amount of alcohol! Risky drinking practices can be a slippery slope to myriad problems down the road. If you are struggling with alcohol use and are in college, we can help you break the cycle of use disorder and to begin working a program of recovery. Please contact us today.

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