Research brief: Binge drinking key to alcohol problems

Most alcohol-related problems are caused by excessive drinking and not alcoholism, say US researchers. Data from 4,761 adults from New Mexico who completed a telephone survey about health-related risk behaviours and outcomes was analysed for the study. This showed that while 16.5 per cent of the adults drank alcohol in excess of national guidelines, only 1.8 per cent fulfilled the criteria for alcohol dependence. This suggests that most alcohol-related problems may be due to excessive drinking, especially binge drinking, among people who are not alcoholics (Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Online 2007).

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