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alcoholismThese five Drinker types to have a problem With alcohol

"I have no problem with alcohol". But maybe it is: In a large study, US researchers identified five types of drinkers who are at least at risk of addiction. This also includes the classic party student.

The researchers from the University of Pennsylvania examined the data of 5400 people who drink alcohol. They were men and women between the ages of 18 and 64, from regular party drinkers to heavy alcoholics. However, all of them showed problematic drinking behavior.

Symptoms of Problem Drinking

In total, the researchers defined eleven symptoms that indicate such problematic drinking behavior, for example:

  • Someone drinks more or for longer than he / she intended.
  • It is difficult to reduce alcohol consumption.
  • Drinking is associated with physical side effects or you feel withdrawal symptoms as soon as you drink less or not at all.
  • Someone continues to drink even though there are health or personal problems.

According to the definition of the researchers, only two of the symptoms need to be present for problematic drinking behavior to exist.

Five types - five problems

What is new about the study is how the researchers defined different risk groups. In doing so, they oriented themselves to their behavior and how strong the negative effects of alcohol consumption were: From group 1 to 5 it gets worse and worse.

  • Group 1: accepts side effects
    It's kind of like the hangover group. This included 34 percent of the people examined. They showed withdrawal symptoms after drinking, but otherwise few impairments.
  • Group 2: Risk of injury
    This includes people who have suffered or at least risked injuries from alcohol, for example people who go swimming or driving while drunk. The researchers were surprised that this applies above all to people aged 58 and over.
  • Group 3: drinks a lot, but feels that life is regulated
    These were mainly young people with highly problematic consumption. Also the party student type: You go out partying a lot, alcohol is an important part of social life. But they have adapted their lives to alcohol, so that they hardly perceive any restrictions personally.
  • Group 4: Can't reduce
    This includes people especially middle-aged, who often realize the negative effects alcohol has on their lives, but who still fail to drink less.
  • Group 5: Very problematic drinking
    This group, to which almost all symptoms apply, comprises 7 percent of the respondents. Here the problems from alcohol are obvious.

You don't see alcohol problems immediately

With their study, the researchers also want to show what different faces risky alcohol consumption can have and that it does not only affect people who correspond to the cliché of the hard drinker.

"Many people believe that an alcoholic is someone from the last group to whom all symptoms apply. Morbid alcohol consumption does not only look like in group 5, but like in all groups."

In order to find out whether you have a problem yourself, there are various scientifically developed questionnaires that, similar to the current study, ask about problem areas, behavior and attitudes: How often do you drink? In what situations? One is the so-called CAGE test. He only has four questions, which are really personal, as this question shows: Did other people annoy you by criticizing your drinking behavior?

Guide values ​​and rules

Orientation is also provided by the "Ten Commandments of Drinking" by alcohol researcher Helmut Seitz (in detail in our lecture hall "When does luxury food become an addictive substance?"). In addition to well-known rules such as "Do not drink alone", he defines benchmarks for how much alcohol consumption is still appropriate.

However, the amount of alcohol should never be viewed in isolation from the circumstances of drinking. That also makes clear another question from the CAGE test: Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?

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