25 August 2020 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: People who drink alcohol often seek to manage their intake in order to maximise the pleasurable effects, such as feelings of sociability and relaxation, without reaching their 'tipping point', where they feel out of control, or unwell. This paper aimed to explore three stages of intoxication; feeling the effects; being as drunk as you would like to be; and reaching the tipping point (feeling more drunk than you want to be) in a large international sample.

METHODS: The Global Drug Survey (GDS) is an annual, cross-sectional, online survey of drug use. This paper draws on data from 61,043 respondents (63.7% male) from 21 countries who took part in GDS2015 collected in November 2014 to January 2015. Respondents reported their usual type of drink; how many drinks they would require to reach each stage of intoxication and how frequently they reached each stage. Alongside socio-demographic measures, they also completed the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT).

RESULTS: Male respondents reported consuming 87.55 gm to be as drunk as they want to be and female respondents reported 70.16 gm, on average. The tipping point was reached at 138.65 gm for male respondents and 106.54 gm for female respondents. Overall 20.3% reported reaching their tipping point at least once a month. Being male, aged under 25 and at higher risk for alcohol use disorder was associated with reporting reaching the tipping point more frequently.

CONCLUSIONS: The amount of alcohol being consumed to reach a desired point of intoxication is much higher than the maximum daily, and sometimes weekly, amount recommended by country guidelines. Encouraging people to avoid reaching their tipping point may be a useful intervention point alongside better communication of low risk drinking guidelines.

25 August 2020 In Drinking Patterns

OBJECTIVE: Social capital has been described as having both positive influences as well as negative influences ("the dark side") on health behaviors. We sought to test the association of perceived social capital on the risk of binge drinking among older adults, using a longitudinal design.

METHODS: We used HRS (Health and Retirement Study) data, a nationally representative sample of US adults aged >/=50 years evaluated every two years (from 2006 to 2014). We investigated the relationship between perceived social capital (neighborhood social cohesion and neighborhood physical disorder, positive social support and negative social support) and binge drinking over time, with a multilevel structural equation modelling (MSEM) approach, modelling number of binge-drinking days as hurdle negative binomial. We used MSEM estimating the associations at person level (overall) and within waves.

RESULTS: The sample included 19,140 individuals. At baseline mean age was 66.8 (SD 10.3). Over time, the number of binge drinking days decreased. Negative social support increased the average number of binge drinking days among those who drink, where one unit increase was associated with an increase of 37 % in the expected number of days binge drinking in the same wave. The association of positive social support on the number of binge drinking days was stronger for females (-0.59 (SE = 0.12)), while neighborhood social cohesion was significantly associated with binge drinking in females (-0.05 (SE = 0.01)), but not in males.

CONCLUSIONS: Negative social support favored binge drinking. Positive social support and neighborhood social cohesion are protective factors for binge drinking, especially for women.

25 August 2020 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Individuals with low socioeconomic status (SES) experience disproportionately greater alcohol-attributable health harm than individuals with high SES from similar or lower amounts of alcohol consumption. Our aim was to provide an update of the current evidence for the role of alcohol use and drinking patterns in socioeconomic inequalities in mortality, as well as the effect modification or interaction effects between SES and alcohol use, as two potential explanations of this so-called alcohol-harm paradox.

METHODS: We did a systematic review, searching Embase, Medline, PsycINFO, and Web of Science (published between Jan 1, 2013, and June 30, 2019) for studies reporting alcohol consumption, SES, and mortality. Observational, quantitative studies of the general adult population (aged >/=15 years) with a longitudinal study design were included. Two outcome measures were extracted: first, the proportion of socioeconomic inequalities in mortality explained by alcohol use; and second, the effect modification or interaction between SES and alcohol use regarding mortality risks. This study is registered with PROSPERO (CRD42019140279).

FINDINGS: Of 1941 records identified, ten met the inclusion criteria. The included studies contained more than 400 000 adults, more than 30 000 deaths from all causes, and more than 3000 100% alcohol-attributable events. Alcohol use explained up to 27% of the socioeconomic inequalities in mortality. The proportion of socioeconomic inequalities explained systematically differed by drinking pattern, with heavy episodic drinking having a potentially significant explanatory value. Although scarce, there was some evidence of effect modification or interaction between SES and alcohol use.

INTERPRETATION: To reduce socioeconomic inequalities in mortality, addressing heavy episodic drinking in particular, rather than alcohol use in general, is worth exploring as a public health strategy.

FUNDING: Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

25 August 2020 In Drinking Patterns

Spain is one of the countries of the European Union in which alcohol consumption has decreased in the past decades. The aim of this paper is to distinguish different phases of the level of alcohol consumption in Spain since 1990. Adult alcohol consumption per capita data between 1990 and 2019 were analysed for temporal trends using the Joinpoint regression model. An additional analysis using interrupted time-series between 1962 and 2016 was performed using data from Global Information System on Alcohol and Health.

Data from the survey on alcohol and other drugs in Spain were collected and a narrative review was conducted to identify possible reasons for the trends found. Five point changes were identified on the timeline between 1990 and 2019, including: a decrease of 3.2% per year from 1990 to 1995, an increase of 1.1% per year from 1995 to 2000, a period of stability from 2000 to 2006, a decrease of 4.5% per year from 2006 to 2011, and a period of stability from 2011 onwards.

These changes can largely be explained by the different public health measures carried out by the Spanish government, as well as the change in the pattern of consumption in society, which shifted its alcoholic beverage preference from wine to beer, and increased its binge-drinking behaviour. Further studies such as interrupted time-series analyses should test if indeed the hypothesized measures on public health have been effective; this could inform future policies in Spain and in other countries.

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