Drinking Alone May Predict Future Problems With Alcohol

Having a glass of wine or beer at home, by yourself, seems like harmless behavior, right? Maybe not. A new study finds drinking alone may predict a future problem with alcohol misuse.

Sobering 17-Year Study 

A recent study looked at the drinking behaviors of high school seniors during the years 1976–2002. In the study, high school seniors were questioned about numerous aspects of their use of alcohol. The researchers followed up with the participants over the next 17 years, including questioning them about their drinking habits at ages 23–24 and again at age 35. The study findings indicated:1

  • Drinking alone in adolescence and young adulthood was significantly correlated with developing a pattern of binge drinking at age 35.
  • Drinking alone in both adolescence and young adulthood was associated with a greater risk of developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD) at age 35.
  • The risk of developing an AUD was greater for women who drank alone in adolescence.

Alcohol Misuse During the Pandemic

In addition to the concerns about drinking alone raised by the study discussed earlier, the recent COVID-19 pandemic greatly contributed to changes in drinking habits. For example, orders to shelter in place and avoid anything except essential trips outside the home led to greater isolation and boredom.2 At the same time, the delivery of alcohol to people’s homes and the ability to drive up and pick up alcohol curbside at many stores and restaurants led to great accessibility to alcohol for many people.2 Furthermore, people were under high stress due to the social and economic conditions during the pandemic.2 These factors combined, contributed to a rise in overall alcohol consumption and problem drinking.2

The results of a recent study show that 2/3 of participants reported increased drinking following COVID-19, as well as a rise in the number of people who reported binge drinking.2 The increased risks of drinking for young adults can be significant. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risks of binge drinking can include:3

  • Being the victim of sexual assault or physical assault.
  • Engaging in aggressive behaviors toward others.
  • Increasing the risk of auto accidents and fatalities.
  • Increasing the risk of other types of accidents, such as falls.
  • Making poor choices and engaging in risky behaviors can result in things like getting an STD or having an unintended pregnancy.
  • Increasing the risk of developing some chronic diseases.
  • Developing memory problems.

Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse

If you suspect a loved one is struggling with alcohol, knowing the signs can help identify a problem. Some of the warning signs that might indicate an AUD include:4

  • Cravings to use alcohol.
  • Being unable to stop or cut back on the use of alcohol.
  • Being unable to complete obligations at home or work.
  • Using alcohol, despite knowing it makes a medical or psychological problem worse.
  • The use of alcohol increases interpersonal conflict with your loved ones.
  • Needing more and more alcohol to keep feeling its effects.
  • Using alcohol in risky situations, such as driving.
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining alcohol, using it, and recovering from it.

Mississippi Rehab for Alcohol & Drug Addiction

If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction and looking for rehab in Mississippi, Oxford Treatment Center can help. Count on a treatment plan tailored to your needs with several levels of care for alcohol misuse, including medical detox, inpatient treatment, and outpatient treatment. You can call to speak to an admissions navigator or start the admissions process online by verifying your insurance coverage. 

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