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Friday, November 14, 2014

Drinking Alcohol Leads to the Emergency Room

Consuming alcohol often comes with unpredictable outcomes; many cases involve a trip to an emergency room. Alcohol disrupts the decision making process and lowers people’s inhibitions, which can lead to dangerous choices. New research indicates that a person who consumes three drinks in six hours is about 4.6 times more likely to end up in the emergency room than someone who had nothing to drink.

Supported by a grant from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, researchers analyzed surveys filled out by 13,000 people, in 18 different countries, that had injured themselves while drinking and needed to go to the ER, according to The Washington Post. The researchers found that even one drink roughly doubles the odds of going to the hospital.

"Patients were asked about the cause of injury bringing them to the emergency department (categorized as falls, traffic, violence, other), drinking within six hours prior to the injury event, and drinking during the same six-hour period the previous week," explained author Cheryl Cherpitel, a researcher with the Alcohol Research Group.

Violence was more commonly the cause of injury from increased drinking than traffic accidents or falls, in fact researchers determined that just one drink almost quadruples a person’s odds of getting into a fight and having to go to the hospital. The more alcohol that one consumes the greater the chance of ending up in the emergency room due to violence.

The study found that women who consumed alcohol had a higher risk of injury than men. The reason for this, explains Duke University's Philip Cook, is that "generally speaking the effects of ingesting X ounces of ethanol in 6 hours depends on weight but also gender (and other factors). Women tend to be more reactive to alcohol, achieving a higher BAC for given level of drinking and body weight."

The findings appear in the journal Addiction.

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