Are moderate drinkers who binge alcohol at a higher risk? Yes, that is true from a study by a group of researchers at the University of Texas at Austin.
In the study, the researchers said that moderate drinkers who binge alcohol are at a significantly higher risk of developing alcohol problems than those who drink the same amount overall but do not binge.
UT Austin psychology professor Charles Holahan, PhD and his collaborators found that moderate average drinkers with a pattern of drinking were almost five times more likely to experience multiple alcohol problems and were twice likely to experience more alcohol problems nine years later. Moderate drinking is defined as having on average no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks on the same occasion.
Dr. Holahan said that an individual whose total consumption is seven drinks on Saturday night presents a greater risk profile than someone whose total consumption is a daily drink with dinner, even though their average drinking level is the same.
Research on drinking tends to focus on adolescents and college students, but most binge drinking occurs among adults over 30, and the prevalence of binge drinking in adults is increasing. However, research on adult alcohol consumption and its effects usually focuses only on a person’s average level of drinking, which masks binge-drinking patterns. As a result, the impact of drinking among low and moderate adult drinkers has not been well studied or understood
The researchers analyzed survey responses from 1.229 drinkers ages 30 and older. The data was taken from two waves of the Midlife Development in the United States study They found that most cases of binge drinking —- and of multiple alcohol problems — occurred among individuals who were average moderate drinkers.