Young people who drink alone are at risk of alcohol abuse later in life – The Hill

Story at a glance


  • Young adults who drank alone at age 18 were 35 percent more likely to report symptoms of alcohol use disorder.

  • People who self-reported drinking in their early twenties were 60 percent more likely to report these symptoms.

  • The team found that young women who drink alone are at particular risk for alcohol use disorder later in adulthood.

A new study finds that people who drink alone early in life are at risk of developing alcohol use disorder later in adulthood.

Young adults who drank alone at age 18 were 35 percent more likely to report symptoms of alcohol use disorder, while people who reported drinking alone in their early twenties were 60 percent more likely to report such symptoms.

Nearly 25 percent of teens aged 18 to 40 percent of young adults aged 23 to 24 reported drinking alcohol alone.

The researchers analyzed data from nearly 4,500 18-year-olds who participated in the Watch the Future study. Participants were initially asked about their alcohol use and then followed over 17 years to provide information about their drinking habits, including drinking alone at 23 and 24 and then reporting signs of alcohol use disorder at 35.

The team found that young women who drink alone are at particular risk for alcohol use disorder later in adulthood.


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“Most young drinkers do so with others in social settings, but a significant minority of young people drink alone. Solitary drinking is a unique and potent risk factor for alcohol use disorder in adults,” said lead author Cassie Cresswell, associate professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. the future”.

“Even after we account for known risk factors, such as excessive alcohol use, frequency of alcohol use, socioeconomic status, and gender, we see a strong indication that drinking alone as a young adult predicts alcohol problems in adulthood.”

Criswell noted that pandemic-related stresses may only exacerbate the ongoing problem.

“With concurrent increases in depression and anxiety associated with the pandemic, we may be seeing an increase in alcohol problems among the nation’s youth,” Cresswell said.

Pandemic stress has led to a sharp rise in alcohol consumption, including overindulgence, which has risen by 21 percent since the onset of COVID-19. Studies show that this rise could lead to an additional 100 deaths and an additional 2,800 cases of liver failure by 2023.

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Posted on July 11, 2022

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