Younger Chronic Drinkers Less Likely to Seek Treatment for Alcohol Related Problems
Youngsters who are alcohol dependent before they turn 25 are less likely to seek treatment than those who become alcohol dependent at age 30 or older according to a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Akinso: Youngsters who are alcohol dependent before they turn 25 are less likely to seek treatment than those who become alcohol dependent at age 30 or older according to a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. They also are more likely to have multiple dependence episodes of longer duration and are likely to meet more dependence diagnostic criteria than those who become alcohol dependent later in life, according to Dr. Ralph Hingson, NIAAA's Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research.
Hingson I think that the conventional view that many people have is that alcoholism is a problem of people who are in their middle age. What this indicates is that actually people are diagnosable with alcohol dependence at a much, much younger age. And it emphasizes the need for prevention that parents need to be vigilant, set clear standards for their children monitor their behavior, make sure there's open communication and involve children in family activities. We know parents can make a difference in reducing or preventing alcohol problems among young people.
Akinso:: Dr. Hingson said that marital, family, or work responsibilities among young drinkers may help explain why persons who can be diagnosed with alcohol dependence at early ages are less likely to recognize and seek treatment for their drinking-related problems.
Hingson People who start to drink at a young age and who become dependent at a young age are more likely to be unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol both during adolescence and adult life, to be in motor vehicle crashes because of drinking both during adolescence and adult life, and to be in physical fights after drinking both during adolescence and adult life. Why is that important? It's important because injuries are the leading cause of deaths in the United States for people ages 1 through 44. CDC estimates that there are approximately 40,000 injury deaths every year in the United States attributable to alcohol. So we need to make sure that our legal drinking age is enforced and that parents set clear standards for young people and that our health care providers are vigilant about this, inquiring adolescent patients about their drinking and apprise them of the increase risks that are associated with starting to drink at a younger age and increase risk of developing alcohol dependence at a very young age.
Akinso:: Dr. Hingson said drinking at an early age predicts early onset of dependence, which in turn is associated with chronic, relapsing dependence. He believes that screening and brief motivational counseling can reduce alcohol-related problems among adolescents and college students who are heavy drinkers and that such counseling needs to be made more available. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Ralph Hingson
Topic: Alcohol Abuse