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Can You Handle Your Liquor? Yes...Then Watch Out, You're at Risk of Alcoholism!

posted 01:03 AM EST, Fri May 29, 2009
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Can You Handle Your Liquor? Yes...Then Watch Out, You're at Risk of Alcoholism! © Photo Credit: Nyki M

Young people who have a low response to alcohol (who need more to get drunk) are at a much greater risk for the lifetime development of alcohol use disorders.

Young people that can hold their liquor; drinking others under the table, have a greatly increased risk of lifetime alcohol use disorders.

The more alcohol a person needs to drink to achieve an intoxication response, the more they tend to drink in a session and the greater their vulnerability to develop a lifetime alcohol use disorder (alcoholism or alcohol abuse).

Researcher Marc A. Schuckit, director of The Alcohol Research Center, of the VA San Diego Healthcare System, led a team of scientists that examined the way a person's response to alcohol affected his likelihood of developing a problem with alcohol. To do so they recruited 297, 18 to 25 year old men and tested their response to alcohol. The research team then followed up with each study subject at 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 year intervals.

The data collected shows a significant correlation between a low response to alcohol and the development of an alcohol use disorder later in life (after confounding variables were controlled for) and the researchers conclude that a low response to alcohol is a significant and unique predictor of alcoholism risks.

Low response to alcohol is likely one aspect of the genetic transference of alcoholism. Schuckit warns parents who suffer from alcoholism to warn their adult children that, "they are at a four-fold increased risk for alcoholism." He recommends that parents talk with their young adult children who use alcohol to find out whether they can, "drink others under the table" making sure that young people with a low response to alcohol get alerted to their elevated risks of alcohol use disorders.

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