Teenagers are not drinking, dating and driving as much as previous generations
Teenagers are not drinking, dating and driving as much as previous generations

Binge drinking as a teen doubles your risk of early death, finds study

It can also lead to ‘risk-raking behaviour’ and mental health issues

Sarah Young
Saturday 10 June 2017 09:03
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Getting drunk before you turn 15-years-old almost doubles your risk of an early death, new research reveals.

Whether it’s down to peer pressure or the thrill of “being cool”, a growing number of boozy teens are at risk of developing serious health implications later in life with a shocking 47 per cent more likely to die prematurely.

Researchers believe that this is because early drinking may increase a person’s risk of developing a life-threatening alcohol abuse disorder later in life, the Daily Mail reports.

“Early onset of drinking and drunkenness are associated with alcohol use disorders and therefore may play a role in elevated alcohol use disorder-related mortality rates,” said lead author Dr Hui Hu from the University of Florida.

The study examined data from the early 1980s which asked participants if they had ever been drunk and how old they were when it first happened.

At the time, the majority of participants were aged between 18 and 44.

Compared to those who said they had never been drunk, those who did so at least once before their 15th birthday were 47 per cent more likely to die during the study period.

Meanwhile, researchers found that getting drunk at 15 or older increased the risk of death during the study by 20 per cent.

Approximately 13 per cent of those who took part admitted the first time they had been drunk was before they turned 15-years-old, while 61 per cent said they had been drunk at some point.

Of those who admitted to binge drinking from a young age, 37 per cent were suffering from an alcohol abuse disorder at the time of interviews compared to just 11 per cent who didn’t drink until they were older.

By the time the study had ended, 26 per cent of young drinkers had sadly passed away in contrast to 23 per cent of those who drunk later in life and 19 per cent who had never been intoxicated.

“Early onset of drinking and drunkenness are associated with alcohol use disorders and therefore may play a role in elevated alcohol use disorder-related mortality rates,” Dr Hu explained.

But, the researchers admitted that alcohol addiction may not be the sole factor contributing to young drinkers’ premature death risk.

“We found that an estimated 21 percent of the total effects of early drunkenness were mediated through alcohol use disorders, suggesting that many other factors in addition to alcohol use disorders may play important roles.”

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