Objective A retrospective case–control study was conducted to evaluate whether frequent binge drinking between the age of 18 and 25 years was a risk factor for alcohol dependence in adulthood.
Setting The Department of Addictive Medicine and the Clinical Investigation Center of a university hospital in France.
Participants Cases were alcohol-dependent patients between 25 and 45 years and diagnosed by a psychiatrist. Consecutive patients referred to the Department of Addictive Medicine of a university hospital between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017 for alcohol dependence were included in the study. Controls were non-alcohol-dependent adults, defined according to an Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test score of less than 8, and were matched on age and sex with cases. Data on sociodemographics, behaviour and alcohol consumption were retrospectively collected for three life periods: before the age of 18 years; between the age of 18 and 25 years; and between the age of 25 and 45 years. Frequency of binge drinking between 18 and 25 years was categorised as frequent if more than twice a month, occasional if once a month and never if no binge drinking.
Results 166 adults between 25 and 45 years were included: 83 were alcohol-dependent and 83 were non-alcohol-dependent. The mean age was 34.6 years (SD: 5.1). Frequent binge drinking between 18 and 25 years occurred in 75.9% of cases and 41.0% of controls (p<0.0001). After multivariate analysis, frequent binge drinking between 18 and 25 years was a risk factor for alcohol dependence between 25 and 45 years: adjusted OR=2.83, 95% CI 1.10 to 7.25.
Conclusions Frequent binge drinking between 18 and 25 years appears to be a risk factor for alcohol dependence in adulthood. Prevention measures for binge drinking during preadulthood, especially frequent binge drinking, should be implemented to prevent acute consequences as injury and death and long-term consequences as alcohol dependence.
Trial registration number NCT03204214; Results.
- mental health
- substance misuse
- public health
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Contributors Designed the research (project conception, development of overall research plan and study oversight): M-PT, AB, JL, PD. Conducted the research (hands-on conduct of the experiments and data collection): M-PT, AB, DC, QB. Analysed the data or performed statistical analysis: M-PT. Wrote the paper (only authors who made a major contribution): M-PT, AB. Had primary responsibility for final content: M-PT.
Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval The study design has been approved by the ’Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertes' (the French Electronic Data Protection Authority) (declaration number 1945778) and Rouen University Hospital’s Institutional Review Board without mandatory informed consent.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement All available data can be obtained by contacting the corresponding author.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
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