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Response to alcohol can indicate future outcomes in people with prior alcoholism, says study

The alcohol response of a person with a history of alcoholism can indicate the future outcomes, says a recent study by researchers from the University of California San Diego. According to the study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, a higher-than-expected rate of problematic drinking among the elderly could be indicative of the future predictors of alcohol-related outcomes.

“We have a population, many of whom, I’m imagining, have tried low-risk drinking. Alcoholics can do that, and often do that, for periods of time. Overall, certainly less than 20 percent and probably more like 10 percent can do that. Few with alcohol dependence can go back to drinking in a controlled way and stay there,” said Marc Schuckit, the lead author of the study.

The study followed up on the Collaborative Studies of the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA), which had participants with baseline alcohol use disorder (AUD) at an average age of 40. The researchers interviewed around 700 people, who had participated in the COGA, 13 to 26 years later. The study suggested that an individual with a previous AUD having a lower level of response to alcohol is related to both future problem drinking and abstinence, while a higher level of response per drink was associated with future low-risk drinking as well as high-risk drinking in the absence of multiple alcohol problems.

Points of evaluation used by study

The study evaluated the individuals using Chi Square test and analysis of variance. Accordingly, the participants were put under four clinically derived categories, based on data from the Self-Report of the Effects of Alcohol (SRE) scores and their level of response (LR) to alcohol, which were as following:

  • Low-risk: It included individuals who consumed alcohol within the year prior but never exceeded three standard drinks per day and 13 drinks per week. They also denied ≥2 alcohol problems in the previous five years
  • High-risk: It included individuals who have had at least one occasion in the year prior when they exceeded the low-risk definition but denied ≥2 alcohol problems in the previous five years
  • Problem: It included individuals who have had ≥2 alcohol problems in the previous five years.
  • Abstinent Drinkers: It included individuals who have been consuming no alcohol in the year prior to follow-up and also denied having ≥2 alcohol problems in the previous five years

The researchers identified that people with high level of response were linked to more benign alcohol outcomes implying that it was easier to stop them from drinking more alcohol in an event. However, people with low level of response were struggling with issues like problem drinking and abstinence. “The contributions by LR to predicting outcomes were observed even after considering age, sex, as well as drinking and drug use histories in the same analyses, indicating that LR may have added unique information for predicting later outcomes,” the study noted.

Seeking treatment for alcohol use disorder

It is difficult to recognize an underlying AUD as the individual suffering from the condition does not look different from any normal person. However, signs like excessive drinking, drinking alone or attending parties for drinking purpose could be potential indicator of developing alcoholism. Fortunately, alcoholism can be treated with proper medical intervention.

If you are looking for a certified alcohol addiction center for yourself or a loved one, contact Sovereign Health of Texas that provides medication-based recovery plan, including counseling along with therapeutic activities like mindfulness meditation and breathing techniques. To learn more about our treatment programs or locate our finest alcohol addiction treatment centers, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our representative for assistance.

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