A study out of Germany shows that young adults who consumed their first drink of alcohol at an early age, and also were subject to stressful situations, tended to become heavy drinkers.
The study, which will be released in the June edition of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research , sampled young adults who took their first drink at early ages. The earliest age reported was 8; most, however, had taken their first drink before the age of 14. The research highlighted that, those who took an alcoholic drink earlier in life, when experiencing stress, they used alcohol as a coping mechanism when dealing with that stress.
“In general, stress can be a large factor in alcohol consumption,” begins a spokesperson for Mountainside Drug Rehab and Alcohol Treatment Center. “Studies such as this one reinforce the working hypothesis that states: ‘the younger the exposure to alcohol, the greater the chance of dependence’. And, the dependence doesn’t necessarily come from routine use but, as this study suggests, as a response to emotional stress. Most alcohol abuse grows from the need to have a coping mechanism to deal with every day issues. Instead of traditional therapies, many turn to the bottle: a quiet, secluded way to cope. We need to help our youth by providing proper ways for them to talk about their frustrations and confusion and by showing them that there is a way to deal with stress that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol.”
The cited research did not show that any particular event had any greater effect on alcohol use than any other. The researchers have stated that more research is needed to make those determinations.