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Daily Drinking Increases Risk of Binge Drinking

Posted in Alcoholism

People who think that having one alcoholic beverage per night is healthy should think again. According to a new study published in the journal Addiction, having even one drink three to four times per week greatly increases the risk of binge drinking, particularly among young men.

A study conducted by researchers from the Université de Montréal and the University of Western Ontario showed that frequent alcohol consumption can lead to binge drinking among all age groups and genders. The study also found that infrequent drinkers rarely exceed more than two servings when they do drink. "The relationship between drinking frequency and consumption per occasion might be both cultural and biological," says study co-author Andrée Demers, a sociology professor at Université de Montréal and director of the Research Group on the Social Aspects of Health and Prevention.

“Regular drinking builds up tolerance, therefore daily drinkers will need more than their usual drink or two to make a difference with everyday life and that festive feeling,” said Catherine Paradis, lead author and PhD candidate at Université de Montréal. "That fosters drinking beyond healthy limits—at least sporadically and perhaps weekly—to five drinks or more per occasion. And five units is above the recommended limits of healthy drinking."

The investigation defined one drink as 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of liquor, 12 ounces of beer, or 3 ounces of port, sherry, or vermouth.

Close to 11,000 respondents—5,743 women and 4,723 men—were asked how often they usually have an alcoholic drink and how often they usually have five drinks or more on one occasion. According to health organizations in Canada, women should never consume more than four drinks per occasion.

"There is no clear and universal understanding of what is moderate drinking—its meaning varies between cultures and within cultures according to gender, age, socio-economic status and people’s self-reported tolerance," says Paradis. "Since regular drinking could increase alcohol abuse, Canadian drinking guidelines should take this aspect of the drinking pattern into account."

Source: Science Daily, Daily Alcohol Intake Can Lead To Binge Drinking, May 29, 2009