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Does alcohol give you hangover or injury? Scientists discover five types of problematic drinkers

You may have thought that problem drinkers could be grouped into a single category. But now scientists say there are five different types.

The researchers from Pennsylvania State University, who were behind the discovery, defined each of the profiles with a set of variable characteristics.

They range from those who struggle to reduce alcohol consumption, to those who run the most risks when they get drunk and those who experience hangovers.

The scientists discovered that each profile existed in people of all ages, but each one is more common in different stages of life.

Scientists at Pennsylvania State University have discovered five types of drinking problems that appear at different ages by observing 5,402 people with alcohol disorders.

Scientists at Pennsylvania State University have discovered five types of drinking problems that appear at different ages by observing 5,402 people with alcohol disorders.

According to doctors, it should no longer be considered that diagnosing and treating alcohol use disorder is a "one size fits all" approach.

The findings, extracted from 5,402 people between 18 and 34 years old, were published in the scientific journal Alcohol & Alcoholism.

The sample was limited to participants who met the criteria for an alcohol use disorder in the previous year.

Dr. Ashley Linden-Carmichael, co-author of the study, said: "We have to think beyond whether someone has an alcohol use disorder."

He added that doctors should "analyze specifically what patients are fighting and if they are in a particularly risky class."


Alcohol-induced injuries

This group represented 25 percent of the people, with a maximum prevalence at 58 years. In addition to drinking too much, people in this profile reported that they were at risk during or after drinking, which could have caused injuries.

Difficulty trimming

This group represented 13 percent of the people, with a maximum of prevelance at 62 years. The people in this group struggled with the desire to reduce their problematic use but not be able to do so.

Highly perceived and highly problematic interference with life

This group represented 21 percent of the people, with a maximum prevalence at 18 years. While the people in this group reported experiencing many symptoms, they said that their alcohol use did not interfere with their family, friends, work or hobbies.

Only adverse effects

This group represented 34 percent of the people, with a maximum prevalence at the age of 21 years. People with this profile reported having experienced hangovers or withdrawal symptoms, in addition to drinking too much.

Very problematic

This group represented seven percent of the people, with a maximum prevalence of 48 years. The people in this group reported experiencing all the symptoms of the alcohol use disorder.

Participants were asked questions such as: • In the last year, have you been sick, had tremors, restlessness, a fast heart when the effects of alcohol are running out, or continued drinking even though it was causing problems? with family or friends? & # 39;

In addition to identifying the five groups, Dr. Linden-Carmichael said that they could use the method to see how often each profile was at different ages.

Dr. Linden-Carmichael said the results suggest that healthcare providers should consider seeking a more personal approach to treating people effectively.

"Therapists might consider, for example, that when someone is a young adult, they should look for that person who experiences withdrawal symptoms," he said.

"On the contrary, if someone is older, they could look for problems to reduce their alcohol consumption or alcohol-related injuries."

In the future, Dr. Linden-Carmichael said she would like to use the same method to analyze the different kinds of alcohol use disorders over time.

She said: I'm interested to see, for example, if someone has a certain profile at an earlier age, what will happen to them later?

& # 39; If a person is in the class of adverse effects only at 21 years old, what does their alcohol consumption look like at age 60? Do they intensify or decrease?

"If we could have a similar large study but follow them through age, that would be the most intuitive and most beneficial for the practice."

Alcohol use disorder can include a variety of symptoms, ranging from drinking more or for longer than is intended to more severe symptoms, such as experiencing withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is not drunk.

A person is considered to have an alcohol use disorder if he experiences two or more of the designated symptoms.

In the United Kingdom, about 31 percent of men and 16 percent of women usually drink at a level that indicates a greater or greater risk of harm (more than 14 units of alcohol in a normal week), depending on the NHS figures. The figure is around 40 percent in the US. UU., Suggest the estimates.

Dr. Linden-Carmichael said: "Although young adults are at higher risk of suffering from an alcohol use disorder, it is clear that it is also a problem for middle-aged people or adulthood, too.

"But it may look different and they may be struggling with different aspects of drinking."

The damage by alcohol costs the company £ 21billion annually, according to Drink Aware. Of this, £ 3.5 trillion are costs for the NHS, £ 11 trillion in costs of alcohol-related crimes and £ 7.3 trillion in lost productivity.

The cost of excessive alcohol consumption in the United States reached $ 249 billion in 2010, and the majority (77%) of these costs were due to excessive alcohol consumption, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC).

Although teenagers used to be Britain's biggest drinkers, experts are now more concerned about middle-aged people.

It was revealed this month that the number of people over 65 who receive treatment for alcohol abuse has multiplied by almost five in just over a decade.

Following the data of Public Health of England, experts warn that the generation of the "baby boom" is denying the consumption of alcohol, with dementia, cancer and liver disease on the rise.


A screening tool widely used by medical professionals is the AUDIT (Identification tests for alcohol use disorders). Developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the 10-question test is considered the gold standard to help determine if someone has alcohol abuse problems.

The test has been reproduced here with permission from WHO.

To complete it, answer each question and write down the corresponding score.


0-7: It is within the range of reasonable consumption and has a low risk of problems related to alcohol.

More than 8: Indicate the harmful or dangerous consumption.

8-15: Average level of risk. Drinking at your current level puts you at risk of developing problems with your health and life in general, such as work and relationships. Consider cutting (see below for tips).

16-19: Increased risk of complications from alcohol. Reducing yourself can be difficult at this level, as you may be dependent, so you may need professional help from your primary care physician and / or a counselor.

20 and more: Possible dependence Your alcohol consumption is already causing problems and it is very possible that you are dependent. You should definitely consider stopping gradually or at least reducing your alcohol consumption. You should seek professional help to determine the level of your dependence and the safest way to retire from alcohol.

Severe dependence may require medically assisted abstinence, or detoxification, in a hospital or a specialized clinic. This is due to the likelihood of severe withdrawal symptoms in the first 48 hours that require specialized treatment.

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