06 July 2017

One glass at a time, a small one at a time…

Drink a lot, but rarely, or – a little, but regularly?

Anna Stavina, XX2 century, based on ScienceDaily: Binge drinking accelerates alcohol use disorder, but stable daily drinking may be just as risky in the long-term

"Binge" alcohol consumption, interspersed with periods of abstinence, can be more dangerous than daily drinking, scientists say. As has been shown in previous studies, this pattern of alcohol consumption increases the risk of alcoholism, especially in adolescents and young people. However, until today it was unclear whether there is a difference between "binge drinking" and regular drinking, if we consider it from the point of view of the risk of episodes of irresistible craving for alcohol, characteristic of patients suffering from alcoholism. After such a craving arises, the decision "to drink or not to drink" ceases to be a Hamlet question – in fact, the volitional sphere can no longer do anything about the obsessive need to "drink right now".

As part of a new study, scientists decided to find out how rats who have become "binge alcoholics" will behave. For five months, two groups of experimental animals were given alcohol. However, the rats from the first group received alcohol irregularly, their daily "drinking" was interspersed with periods of sobriety. On the contrary, the rats from the second group "drank" every day. In the process, the researchers assessed an increase in the amount of alcohol consumed and changes in compulsive behavior, that is, the same irresistible craving "for a glass".

It turned out that the volume of alcohol consumed in "binge" rats increased several weeks earlier than in animals that received alcohol daily. In addition, rats from the first group began to consume more alcohol on average. The results of the new work confirm the conclusions made in the course of previous studies: there is a causal relationship between "binge drinking" and an increased risk of alcoholism in adulthood.

The authors of the new work (Kimbrough et al., Intermittent Access to Ethanol Drinking Facilitates the Transition to Excessive Drinking After Chronic Intermittent Ethanol Vapor Exposure) suggest that the animal model used is highly relevant, it is able to accurately reflect the processes of neuroadaptation leading to the development of alcohol dependence.

Some of the results were unexpected for the researchers. In particular, it turned out that chronic daily alcohol consumption (without binge drinking) in terms of the development of cravings for alcohol is about as dangerous as binge drinking. Animals from both groups had similar behavior in this aspect, regardless of whether they drank alcohol every day or intermittently.

It turns out that both classic excuses ("I don't drink every day" and "how much I drink there a day") are equally groundless. Both daily alcohol consumption and repeated binge drinking can cause an irresistible craving for alcohol and related problems, both with health and society.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru  06.07.2017

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