28 August 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

OBJECTIVE: Alternative methods of alcohol consumption have recently emerged among adolescents and young adults, including the alcohol "eyeballing", which consist in the direct pouring of alcoholic substances on the ocular surface epithelium. In a context of drug and behavioural addictions change, "eyeballing" can be seen as one of the latest and potentially highly risky new trends. We aimed to analyze the existing medical literature as well as online material on this emerging trend of alcohol misuse.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Literature on alcohol eyeballing was searched in PsychInfo and Pubmed databases. Results were integrated with a multilingual qualitative assessment of the database provided by The Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN) and of a range of websites, drug fora and other online resources between March 2013 and July 2013.

RESULTS: Alcohol eyeballing is common among adolescents and young adults; substances with high alcohol content, typically vodka, are used for this practice across the EU and internationally. The need for a rapid/intense effect of alcohol, competitiveness, novelty seeking and avoidance of "alcoholic fetor" are the most frequently reported motivations of "eyeballers". Local effects of alcohol eyeballing include pain, burning, blurred vision, conjunctive injection, corneal ulcers or scarring, permanent vision damage and eventually blindness.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol eyeballing represents a phenomenon with potential permanent adverse consequences, deserving the attention of families and healthcare providers. Health and other professionals should be informed about this alerting trend of misuse. Larger observational studies are warranted to estimate the prevalence, characterize the effects, and identify adequate forms of interventions for this emerging phenomenon.

28 August 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

AIMS: To explore how the concept of lay epidemiology can enhance understandings of how drinkers make sense of current UK drinking guidelines.

METHODS: Qualitative study using 12 focus groups in four sites in northern England and four sites in central Scotland. Participants were 66 male and female drinkers, aged between 19 and 65 years, of different socio-economic backgrounds. Data were analysed thematically using a conceptual framework of lay epidemiology.

RESULTS: Current drinking guidelines were perceived as having little relevance to participants' drinking behaviours and were generally disregarded. Daily guidelines were seen as irrelevant by drinkers whose drinking patterns comprised heavy weekend drinking. The amounts given in the guidelines were seen as unrealistic for those motivated to drink for intoxication, and participants measured alcohol intake in numbers of drinks or containers rather than units. Participants reported moderating their drinking, but this was out of a desire to fulfil work and family responsibilities, rather than concerns for their own health. The current Australian and Canadian guidelines were preferred to UK guidelines, as they were seen to address many of the above problems.

CONCLUSIONS: Drinking guidelines derived from, and framed within, solely epidemiological paradigms lack relevance for adult drinkers who monitor and moderate their alcohol intake according to their own knowledge and risk perceptions derived primarily from experience. Insights from lay epidemiology into how drinkers regulate and monitor their drinking should be used in the construction of drinking guidelines to enhance their credibility and efficacy.

28 August 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

This study examined the association between moderate drinking at age 16 (adolescence) and alcohol consumption at age 26 (young adulthood), whilst controlling for possible confounding effects at the individual and family level (assessed at birth and age 10). Using the British Cohort Study (BCS70), 6515 respondents provided data on their adolescent alcohol consumption and other behaviours. Of these, 4392 also completed the survey at age 26. Consumption patterns established in adolescence persisted, to a large degree, into early adulthood. Those adolescents who drank moderately in adolescence drank significantly less in adulthood than those adolescents who drank to heavy or hazardous levels. Implications for health promotion strategies and guidance are discussed.

28 August 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: Sipping alcohol is common during early adolescence, but research has ignored the distinction between sipping and drinking whole alcohol beverages, conflating the 2, or else simply classifying "sippers" as abstainers. Research has not addressed whether sippers are different to drinkers, in relation to variables known to be associated with adolescent alcohol consumption, or considered whether sipping and drinking behaviors may have quite different associations.

METHODS: Parent-child dyads (N = 1,823) were recruited in 3 states from Australian grade 7 classes. Multinomial logistic analyses compared adolescents who had only had a sip/taste of alcohol (sippers) with adolescents who had consumed at least a whole drink (drinkers) in the past 6 months. The multivariate model assessed a broad range of demographics, parenting practices, peer influences, and adolescent externalizing and internalizing behaviors, and controlled for school clustering.

RESULTS: Compared to drinkers, sippers were less likely to come from 1-parent households (odds ratio [OR] = 0.59, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.35 to 0.98); less likely to come from low-socioeconomic status (SES) households (OR = 0.54, 95% CI: 0.31 to 0.94); more likely to come from families where parents provide stricter alcohol-specific rules (OR = 1.21, 95% CI: 1.11 to 1.32), stricter monitoring of the child's activities (OR = 1.10, 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.16), more consistent parenting practices (OR = 1.13, 95% CI: 1.05 to 1.23), and more positive family relationships (OR = 1.56, 95% CI: 1.02 to 2.43); and report having fewer substance-using peers (OR = 0.80, 95% CI: 0.70 to 0.91) and greater peer disapproval of any substance use (OR = 1.30, 95% CI: 1.19 to 1.42). After adjustment for confounders, the associations with household composition and SES were no longer significant, but the familial and peer associations remained significant in the multivariate analysis, chi2 (40) = 1,493.06, p < 0.001.

CONCLUSIONS: Sipping alcohol has different associations with known predictors of adolescent alcohol use than drinking whole beverages, and sipping may be a distinct or separable behavior. Future research should better define quantities of early consumption and assess the relationship between early sipping and drinking on long-term outcomes separately.

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