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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Can problem drinkers drink at a 'normal' level again?

Problem drinkers 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!

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 problem drinkers still consumed 160% and female problem drinkers 223% more alcohol than the average adult. This suggests that problem drinkers and heavy drinkers may never lower their consumption to the level of the general population.

"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," said lead researcher Kevin L. Delucchi.

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.




An interesting study that highlight the power of substance addiction and how difficult it can be to beat. Being able to stem the consumption to under 50% of the previous usage and function well within society seems to me to be a success, we don't expect those addicted to be perfect, but at least they are not at the 'bottom of the barrel' - they can contribute to society and perform within it. Whether or not they could ultimately choose to completely give up on alcohol is another question, and perhaps with support they could, but as long as they are functioning is it really a problem?

Or is alcoholism only a problem when it starts affecting other people?

Link to Article

1 comment:

  1. No doubt there are 2 groups - those who can and those who can’t. Some people abuse alcohol in an extremely destructive way yet they can moderate if they want to. Others may do more moderate harm to self and others but find it impossible to moderate their drinking.

    ReplyDelete

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