Heavy Drinkers

8 Percent of Men, 3 Percent of Women are Heavy Drinkers, Study Finds

A new study finds 8 percent of men and 3 percent of women are heavy drinkers, according to government guidelines. On any given day, 18 percent of men and 11 percent of women drink more alcohol than advised by federal dietary guidelines, Reuters reports.

The recommended limit is two drinks per day for men and one for women, the article notes. The study found 8 percent of men had five or more drinks, and 3 percent of women had four or more.

“And in fact, most adults don’t drink at all on any given day. But the fact remains that it is a significant public health problem that many people do drink in excess,” Patricia Guenther, the lead study author and a nutritionist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, told Reuters.

Among males, the largest percentage of heavy drinkers was found in the 31-to-50-year-old age group. Among women, the heaviest drinkers were ages 51 to 70. “People need to be aware that there are people of all ages who drink to excess,” Guenther said.

The researchers studied data from about 5,400 adults over age 21. They found 64 percent of men and 79 percent of women did not drink any alcohol the day they were surveyed. They reported their findings in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

See more at: Heavy Drinkers

By Join Together Staff

More Bars = More Domestic Violence

Neighborhood bar density linked to intimate partner violence-related visits to hospital emergency department

  • Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been linked to heavy drinking, and alcohol outlet density to violence.
  • A new study looks at links between alcohol outlet densities and IPV-related Emergency Department (ED) visits.
  • Findings showed that bars are positively related to IPV-related ED visits, while there is no relationship between restaurant density and IPV-related ED visits.

Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been linked to heavy drinking, substance use by one or both partners, and living in a neighborhood characterized by poverty and social disadvantage. Alcohol outlet density has been linked to assaultive violence in a community. A study of the association between alcohol outlet densities and IPV-related visits to the Emergency Department (ED) throughout California between July 2005 and December 2008 has found that density of bars is associated with IPV-related ED visits.

Results will be published in the May 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

"Most of the research on IPV-related ED visits has focused on individual factors," explained Carol B. Cunradi. "We wanted to extend this line of research by testing whether alcohol outlet densities are associated with IPV-related ED visits, while also taking into account other neighborhood-level characteristics previously shown to be linked with IPV."

"While a handful of international studies have looked at the geographic association between IPV and neighborhood conditions, this is the first study in the US documenting a relationship," added Richard Scribner. "This particular study is unique in that it uses an innovative data source available in California.”

"Although it is true that both bars/pubs and restaurants sell alcohol and food, we hypothesized that the context surrounding use of these two types of outlets would be quite different," said Cunradi. "For example, we expect that restaurants that also sell alcohol are frequented by couples and/or families primarily to have a meal that may or may not be accompanied by alcohol. On the other hand, we expect that bars/pubs are primarily frequented by men with or without their female partners, with the primary goal of drinking alcohol that may or may not be served with some food. There is also a large literature linking bar attendance, but not restaurants that serve alcohol, with aggression."

Cunradi and her colleagues computed half-yearly counts of ED visits related to IPV for individual zip codes taken from patient-level public datasets. Alcohol outlet density measures – calculated separately for bars, off-premise outlets such as liquor stores and grocery stores that sell alcohol, and restaurants – were derived from California Alcohol Beverage Control records.

"The key findings of the study are that the density of bars was positively associated with IPV-related ED visits, and the density of off-premise outlets was negatively associated with IPV-related visits," said Cunradi. "For the latter finding, the association was weaker and smaller than the bar association. There was no association between density of restaurants and IPV-related ED visits. These findings suggest that environmental factors, such as alcohol outlet density, affect IPV behaviors resulting in ED visits."

"These findings are impressive if for no other reason than the growing realization of the robustness of a measure like bar density in identifying neighborhoods where alcohol-related outcomes like IPV are more common," said Scribner. "Clearly, these results suggest bar density is a marker for some as-yet-unidentified mechanism that geographically concentrates a broad array of health outcomes."

Both Cunradi and Scribner noted that ED visits represent a much more serious level of IPV than police reports.

"Police-reported IPV cases may involve threatening behavior, property damage, loud arguments, and physical aggression that may or may not result in injury," said Cunradi. "In contrast, IPV-related ED visits are, by definition, injuries requiring medical attention."

"The take-home message is that environmental factors, such as alcohol outlet density, affect IPV behaviors resulting in ED visits," said Cunradi. "However, the absence of individual-level data do not allow us to determine the precise mechanisms that link an increase of one bar per square mile with a three percent increased likelihood of IPV-related ED visits in a given zip code. There is nonetheless research evidence linking bar attendance with aggressive behavior, both in and out of the bar. Additional research is needed to investigate how bar density results in increased risk for IPV related ED visits."

From EurekAlert!

Can AA Survive in Russia?

Can the AA 12-Step Program Thrive in Russia?

The US Helsinki Commission is charged with monitoring human rights compliance in the former Soviet Union. But on August 2, the commission took a break from its routine responsibilities to examine the thorny issue of alcoholism in Russia.

Russians’ capacity for drink is legendary. During the hearing, titled US-Russian Cooperation in the Fight against Alcoholism, one of the witnesses, Heidi Brown, an analyst at Kroll Associates, tried to quantify the impact of spirits on Russian society. The numbers she proffered were alarming: half-a-million deaths each year in Russia are alcohol-related, and approximately half of all male deaths in Russia are in some way connected to excessive alcohol consumption. In addition, a whopping 2.3 billion liters of vodka are sold every year in Russia, a country with a current estimated population of 142 million.

Another witness at the hearing was Dr. Eugene Zubkov, the co-founder of a 30-bed clinic in Leningrad Oblast outside St. Petersburg that specializes in treating alcoholics. Zubkov noted that there are 2.7 million officially registered alcoholics in Russia, but added that the official count was probably low. “It means probably three times that many patients … are not registered,” he said. If Zubkov’s estimate is accurate, it means that approximately one in every 13 Russian citizens may be an alcoholic.

The hearing spent a fair amount of time examining the applicability to Russia of the 12-step program developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a mutual assistance movement designed to promote sobriety that was founded in 1935 in the United States.

Margaret Murray, the director of the International Research Program at the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, told members of the Helsinki Commission that AA “has been an extremely important mainstay of [alcoholism] treatment in the United States.” Among the benefits, Murray said, was the “social support for abstinence that AA provides, as well as enhancing an individual’s spirituality, which we know is key to recovery for a lot of people.”

Zubkov said his clinic, called the House of Hope on a Hill, utilizes AA’s 12-step method in its 28-day treatment program. Since its opening in 1996, the House of Hope has treated about 4,500 patients, he said, adding that the facility has acted as a catalyst for the slow spread of AA chapters across Russia. “There are now 370 AA meetings … in Russia, and 40 percent of those meetings were started by – initiated by the graduates of the house,” he said.

AA encounters lots of opposition in Russia, Zubkov noted. Efforts to open an AA-based clinic in a new location often generate official opposition because the 12-step method is seen as a foreign import.

“There is a lot of mistrust of Alcoholics Anonymous there because it is seen as Western. … There are a lot of people who still have sort of a nationalism or a resentment about methods that have come from abroad,” added Brown. Some opposition also appears to be faith-based, as AA is seen by many Orthodox Christian Russians as essentially a creature of the Reformed Protestant tradition.

Preferred treatment methods in Russia lack an adequate after-care component, Zubkov said. “Russian treatment methods are largely very biologically oriented and sometimes strange.” The most popular method relies on the use of Antabuse, a drug that makes people sick when they drink alcohol. But this does not address the cultural and physical sources of the addiction. “And after this, [the] patient is basically – he is on his own,” Zubkov said. “He doesn’t get any therapeutic support. He doesn’t get any – he doesn’t go to any meetings. And when he has a personal crisis, the easiest way for him to resolve it is try to drink, and very often this could end in fatalities.”

Beyond cultural differences, the lack of a tradition of philanthropic giving in Russia is hampering the ability of AA programs to expand their reach. The House of Hope, Zubkov noted, depended on financial support provided by an American philanthropist, Lou Bantle, who died in 2010. Now, the clinic is facing an uncertain financial future. Finding Russian benefactors is an extreme challenge, Zubkov added.

Not only does the Russian government tax charitable contributions, but those corporations and philanthropists that do donate “prefer to support high-profile, socially acceptable organizations, such as the performing and visual arts.” The only exception has been the Baltika brewery, which has been “continuously supporting us for many years,” he said.

Originally published by www.EurasiaNet.org

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Time to Develop Alcoholism

How Long Does It Take Alcohol Dependence To Develop?

  • How long fpr alcoholism to develop About 1 in 7 adults who have had alcohol dependence, commonly known as alcoholism, developed it less than a year after having their first drink, according to a nationwide survey of U.S. adults aged 18 or older.
  • About a quarter of people who have had alcohol dependence developed it less than 2 years after their first drink,
  • about a third in less than 3 years, and
  • about half in less than 5 years.

In the United States, most people have had their first drink by the time they leave high school. This fact, combined with the relatively rapid onset of dependence in many drinkers, helps to explain why alcohol dependence is found most commonly in young adults. About 1 in 9 people aged 18–24 have alcohol dependence, more than twice the proportion of any other age group.

The survey also shows that alcohol dependence occurs only rarely among drinkers who always stay within the following limits:

  • for men, no more than 4 drinks on any single day and 14 per week;
  • for women, no more than 3 drinks on any day and 7 per week.
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Drinking and Risks to Men

Drinking Buddies

Image via Wikipedia

Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Men’s Health

Men are more likely than women to drink excessively. Excessive drinking is associated with significant increases in short-term risks to health and safety, and the risk increases as the amount of drinking increases.

Men are also more likely than women to take other risks (e.g., drive fast or without a safety belt), when combined with excessive drinking, further increasing their risk of injury or death.

Drinking levels for men
  • Approximately 62% of adult men reported drinking alcohol in the last 30 days and were more likely to binge drink than women (47%) during the same time period.
  • Men average about 12.5 binge drinking episodes per person per year, while women average about 2.7 binge drinking episodes per year.
  • Most people who binge drink are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent.
  • It is estimated that about 17% of men and about 8% of women will meet criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.
Injuries and deaths as a result of excessive alcohol use
  • Men consistently have higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women.
  • Among drivers in fatal motor-vehicle traffic crashes, men are almost twice as likely as women to have been intoxicated (i.e., a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater).
  • Excessive alcohol consumption increases aggression and, as a result, can increase the risk of physically assaulting another person.
  • Men are more likely than women to commit suicide, and more likely to have been drinking prior to committing suicide.
Reproductive Health and Sexual Function

Excessive alcohol use can interfere with testicular function and male hormone production resulting in impotence, infertility, and reduction of male secondary sex characteristics such as facial and chest hair.

  • Excessive alcohol use is commonly involved in sexual assault. Impaired judgment caused by alcohol may worsen the tendency of some men to mistake a women’s friendly behavior for sexual interest and misjudge their use of force.
  • Also, alcohol use by men increases the chances of engaging in risky sexual activity including unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, or sex with a partner at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.
Cancer
  • Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon in men.

There are a number of health conditions affected by excessive alcohol use that affect both men and women.

Long-Term Health Risks

Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases, neurological impairments and social problems. These include but are not limited to—

  • Neurological problems, including dementia, stroke and neuropathy.
  • Cardiovascular problems (heart diseases), including myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation and hypertension.
  • Psychiatric problems, including depression, anxiety, and suicide.
  • Social problems, including unemployment, lost productivity, anti-social attitudes and family problems.
  • Cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast. In general, the risk of cancer increases with increasing amounts of alcohol.
  • Liver diseases, including—
    • Alcoholic hepatitis.
    • Cirrhosis, which is among the 15 leading causes of all deaths in the United States.
    • Among persons with Hepatitis C virus, worsening of liver function and interference with medications used to treat this condition.
  • Other gastrointestinal problems, including pancreatitis and gastritis.

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See also

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Little eyes, little ears

Little eyes, little ears; how violence against a mother shapes children as they grow

Children are changed by growing up with violence and abuse at home

Bad sights, sounds and experiences take many forms. A hit or slap is obvious to see. Abusive words and interactions cause invisible bruises.

Change can be sudden or change can be gradual

Violence at home can take the form of one or more traumatic incidents triggering sudden change. Or changes can occur slowly in reaction to the daily dynamics of abusive relationships, shaping a child incrementally as he or she grows.

Change can be visible or change can be inside

Some changes show in a child’s behaviour, such as crying, aggression, or disrespect to women. Violence in the home also changes how children think and feel – about themselves, their families and life in general.

Children are not passive witnesses to noise, tension and violence at home

Little eyes and little ears don’t miss much, soaking in sights and sounds. Child "witnesses" of violence and abuse are overwhelmed by intense feelings and concentrate hard on their own thoughts. They may feel confused and scared and blame themselves.

As they watch or listen, they guess what caused the "fight," imagine what might happen next, and anticipate potential consequences.

Change can be bad and change can be good

By understanding a child’s view, we can nurture positive changes: correct distorted ideas, encourage helpful coping, build good interpersonal skills, and foster management of intense emotions. And we can support mothers as they help their children heal and thrive.

A child who lives with violence is

forever changed, but not forever

"damaged." There’s a lot we can

do to make tomorrow better.

This resource draws together, in one place, information from the best and latest research for professionals and volunteers who help women and children.

Topics addressed include what children might feel, think and do during violent incidents against their mothers, roles they might adopt before, during or after incidents, strategies of coping and survival, and how violence may be experienced by children of different ages, from infancy to adolescence.

The purpose is to examine how violence against a mother can shape a child. By learning how each child as an individual was shaped by experiences in his or her home – and considering important contextual features of family life – we can devise ways to help.

‘little eyes , little ears’ how violence against a mother shapes children as they grow, by Alison Cunningham & Linda Baker the © 2007 Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System. Available at web site: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/nc-cn

Older Problem Drinkers

elderly man drinking glass Older problem drinkers use more alcohol than do their younger counterparts

Older adults who have alcohol dependence problems drink significantly more than do younger adults who have similar problems, a new study has found.

The findings suggest that older problem drinkers may have developed a greater tolerance for alcohol and need to drink even more than younger abusers to achieve the effects they seek.

Researchers at Ohio State University found that adults over age 60 who have alcohol dependence drink more than 40 alcoholic drinks a week on average, compared to between 25 and 35 drinks a week on average for those in younger age groups with similar problems.

In addition, older people with alcohol dependence have more binge drinking episodes per month than do their younger counterparts.

“A combination of high levels of drinking and the physiological effects of aging are particularly problematic for older adults,” said Linda Ginzer, co-author of the study.

They surveyed a national of more than 43,000 people collected in 2000-01 under the direction of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Research has shown that Americans generally tend to drink less alcohol as they age. But these findings suggest that for certain groups of older adults – those with alcohol dependence – alcohol use actually increases, Ginzer said.

For this study, the researchers used the survey results to classify heavy drinkers by age categories.

Two categories were of particular interest to the researchers. Those in the alcohol abuse category were those who showed mainly social-related problems related to their alcohol use, including legal issues, and engaging in physically hazardous activities such as driving after drinking. Those in the alcohol dependence category showed evidence of physiological problems related to their alcohol use, such as increasing drinking and continued use even after physical or psychological problems were apparent.

While adults over age 60 were less likely than other groups to be in the abuse or dependence categories, those who were in those categories tended to have higher drinking levels than did younger problem drinkers.

For one, older problem drinkers drank more each week than did others. In addition, older people in the dependence category had significantly more alcohol binges each month than did younger people in the same category. Binges were defined as men having five or more drinks in a day, or women having four or more drinks in a day.

Those over age 60 in the alcohol dependence category averaged 19 binges per month, while younger age groups in the same category averaged 13 to 15 monthly binges.

“More often than not, we think of binge drinking as occurring among college students or those in their 20s,” Richardson said.

“But the fact is, binge drinking occurs among older people as well, and it is in fact worse among those who have problems with alcohol. It is something that clinicians and researchers need to consider.”

Overall, binge drinking was greater among all adults who were in the alcohol abuse category than it was among other adults who reported drinking seven or more drinks a week, but did not fall into the problem categories.

“That suggests binge drinking may be a better measure of problem drinking than just the total amount of drinks someone has per week,” Ginzer said.

From a EurekAlert press release.