Study Finds Early Alcohol Use Increases Alcohol Abuse Later in Life May 23, 2013
The earlier the age at which youth take their first alcoholic drink, the greater the risk of developing alcohol problems, Medical News Today reported.
A new study that will be published in the October issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research shows that individuals who have their first drink during puberty subsequently have higher drinking levels than do individuals with a post-pubertal drinking onset.
“Most teenagers have their first alcoholic drink during puberty, however, most research on the risks of early-onset alcohol use up to now has not focused on the pubertal stage during which the first alcoholic drink is consumed,” said Miriam Schneider, leader of the Research Group Developmental Neuropsychopharmacology at the Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Heidelberg, as well as corresponding author for the study.
“Common thinking in alcohol research was that the earlier adolescents begin, the more deleterious become their drinking habits. However, a closer look at the statistics revealed a peak risk of alcohol use disorders for those beginning at 12 to 14 years of age, while even earlier beginners seemed to have a slightly lower risk. Since timing of puberty is not a simple function of chronological age, and also greatly differs between the sexes, the pubertal phase at first drink may therefore represent a stronger and better indicator for subsequent alcohol-related problems than simply the age.”